I remember a time, over 20 years into marriage, when the “big dealness” of marriage overwhelmed me. Certainly, I had thought about marriage many times before. I have always had a very high view of marriage, and I took my calling as a husband very seriously. Then, one night God overwhelmed me with a lesson, and my life has never been the same.
I was folding the laundry while my wife was at a meeting. I was getting increasingly irritated, as pretty much every piece of her clothing was inside out. I was seriously considering putting her socks together inside out (I can be that petty!) because I was so annoyed. Then this thought came and hit me like a hammer:
What if in the summer of 1991 I’d seen a burning bush in my back yard that was not being consumed. What if after I took off my shoes and fell on my face I heard the voice of God say,
“Son! I have a daughter that I love very much. I love her so much that I was willingly tortured to death so that I could adopt her. There is nobody on this whole planet that I love more than her. She wears My name and bears My image and I am with her (very alertly) every nanosecond of her life. I could tell you exactly how many hairs are on her head, how many tears she’s ever cried and how much potential and aptitude I’ve built into her life. You’ve never met a more important person.
I want you to marry her and love her like I have loved you. I want you to take her into your house and give her your name. You will do whatever you have to do to help her know and fulfill her calling. I expect that you will treat her in a manner consistent with her relationship to Me. She is a princess. She is My princess. You will treat her accordingly. Do you have any questions? Is there anything I have said that is not clear?”
Would I ever consider not turning out her socks if I thought about what it meant to be married to a daughter of God? Is there anything too much to give her? How overwhelming it is that I am called to lead her in following our Lord and will give an account to Him for what I have done?
It is actually pretty overwhelming for a woman too. She is called to submit to a man’s authority and treat him with respect–an actual, real, man living after the events of Genesis 3 and manifesting the fruit of it regularly. Seriously–how terrifying, frustrating and risky is that?!
The plain fact is that all husbands and all wives are (to put it delicately) incomplete in their sanctification. Lest there be any doubt, living with a person who is “incomplete in their sanctification” occasionally feels like living with someone who is “a selfish, inconsiderate, offensive and infuriating sinner.” Nevertheless, if your spouse has been adopted by God, he/she is actually a prince or princess. His/Her Father is greater, richer, stronger and smarter than any king you could possibly imagine. Nothing gets by Him and everything really matters. Woe to the one who treats one of His children in a manner inconsistent with their privileged position! He knows. And, scarier still, He cares.
Let that sink in–God seriously cares. He loves more passionately and knows more completely and gives more abundantly and threatens more horribly than any father in the history of the world. If that doesn’t profoundly affect the way you treat your spouse, you need to seriously consider what you truly believe about your Almighty, Omniscient Father-in-law.