This year, Luella and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage. When we look back, we are amazed at all that has happened and all that God has done. We love one another dearly, and we are very grateful for our years together.
But we know our story isn’t a story of marital success. If you could watch a video of our life together, you would soon realize that we have not figured out how to “win” at this thing called marriage.
No, our five decades is the narrative of two people who have been rescued by grace and wisdom again and again.
Over the next few weeks of Wednesday’s Word, I will write about marriage. Not because Paul Tripp has any personal brilliance to offer, but because God has generously provided us two things: his powerful, transforming grace and his life-rearranging wisdom.
Here are three of those life-rearranging wisdom perspectives that Scripture gives us that enable us to be better prepared in our marriage:
1. We Are Conducting Our Marriage in a Fallen World
We all face the same thing. Our marriages exist in the middle of a world that does not function as God intended. Somehow, someway, your marriage is touched every day by the brokenness of this world.
I am persuaded that understanding your fallen world and God’s purpose for keeping you in it is foundational to building a marriage of unity, understanding, and love. This does not mean that you will stop being grieved; Jesus wept when he walked the roads of our world.
But this grief is not a dark tunnel that fate has sent your way. It is a wise tool in the hands of a loving God who knows how deep your need is and wants to give you gifts of grace that will last forever.
2. We Are Sinners Married to Sinners
You and I just don’t get to be married to someone perfect. It seems obvious when you read it, but how often do we forget it in our relationship’s mundane moments?
You and your spouse contribute something destructive to what a marriage needs and must do. The Bible names it: sin.
This is where the narrative of Scripture is so helpful. The world of the Bible is like your world—messy and broken. The people of the Bible are like you and your spouse—weak and failing. The situations of the Bible are like yours—complicated and unexpected.
God’s honesty about the address where we live is itself an act of love and grace. He does this so we will be realistic in our expectations, then humbly reach out for the help that he alone can give us.
3. God Is Faithful, Powerful, and Willing
Yes, you live in a bad neighborhood, and the two of you are less than perfect, but you must never forget that you are not alone in your struggle. Acts 17:27 says that God is near, so near that in your moment of need, you can reach out and touch him because he is not far from each one of us.
So when you are sinned against or when the fallen world breaks your door down, don’t lash out or run away. Stand in your weakness and confusion and say, “I am not alone. God is with me, and he is faithful, powerful, and willing.”
Paul David Tripp
1. How long have you been married? Do you take each anniversary for granted? For your next anniversary, how can you emphasize and celebrate God’s grace more?
2. How have you experienced the brokenness of this fallen world? In what ways have you and your spouse suffered as a result of your environment?
3. Has your suffering drawn you closer as a couple or created conflict? Are there areas that you can address today that might create a deeper unity during suffering?
4. Where has the sin of your spouse splashed up into your life recently? Don’t spend too much time thinking about this answer! Instead, consider how your sin complicates the life of your spouse. Where do you need to repent today?
5. How was God proven himself to be faithful, powerful, and willing in other areas of your life outside of marriage? How can you celebrate his life-transforming grace and take hold of it together with your spouse?