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Sunday, January 31, 2010
In re-reading yesterday’s post, I realized that it could have sounded judgmental and holier-than-thou, which was not at all my intention. What I was trying to do was to get you to consider where your frame of reference for marriage comes from and to get you to think through the implications of those influences.

We’ve all seen plenty of unhappy, wrecked and dysfunctional marriages. Truth is, because there are people involved there will never be such a thing as a perfect marriage. But just as we don’t hesitate to hold Jesus up as the standard of perfection against whom we compare our lives, we shouldn’t be intimidated by the biblical concept of the bridal paradigm, though we at times will fall far short of the ideal. My own marriage is far from a perfect implementation of the bridal paradigm, but my desire is to grow in understanding and to apply it more consistently to my marriage as we continue on our journey to surrender.

There was recently an interesting exchange across two marriage blogs around the popular suggestion that “good is the enemy of great.” The authors, both for and against this notion, have some good points, but having just spent the past few days listening to Rob Rufus talk profoundly about grace, it strikes me that grace was the missing component in this exchange.

This message of the grace of God is full of implications for marriage, but one thing in particular struck me as appropriate to this conversation on good vs. great. “The Gospel is a message of right believing not of right doing.” To me, this is why this concept of your marriage paradigm is so critically important. What you believe about your role in your marriage and what you believe about your spouse’s role, having the right framework of understanding if you will, is more important than simply striving in your own strength to make your marriage better. This is a truly freeing concept.

If you don’t begin by seeing your marriage in the right light, which in my opinion means viewing it from the perspective of the bridal paradigm, your efforts to make things better, no matter how pure your motives, can be misdirected and ineffective. While I do believe we should all desire to have great marriages, because I think that is God’s desire as well, and I believe that having a strong marriage takes effort, it’s as much a matter of believing rightly as anything else.

As with the Gospel, in marriage, it is right believing first that leads to joyful, stress-free and fruitful right doing.  It is the message of grace that permits you to delight in your marriage, even if for now it is only "pretty OK,"  yet still grow toward one that is some day "great."


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