Without question, one of the many reasons that my beloved Anne chose me, of all people, to be her life-long companion, was my mature character. I was not one of those shallow, “surfacy” guys. I knew how to be vulnerable, transparent, and open-hearted. Naturally, I chose her, because she filled the bill of what the Scripture calls a “virtuous woman.” We’ve been a great team these past thirty-two years! Glory to God.
“Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.” (Psalm 51:6 AMP) The extravagance of God in this regard ensures that our growth in character be ongoing.Transformation, not information, is the main idea here. Single or married, going deeper in being an authentic witness and display of Gods grace, is our life’s goal. What may have been the inmost part yesterday, may not be the inmost part today. “Deeper Lord” is one prayer that will always be in vogue.
I believe that everyone who’s walked with Christ has discovered that adversity serves as a sort of depth gauge. Pressing circumstances, or people, have a way of surfacing that which is hindering a deeper maturity. We are prone to desire a dispensing of adversity that we might move forward in serving God in peace. God facilitates the strategic use of adversity to move us forward in serving Him while we draw from His sustaining peace, on the way.
“How great each one’s virtue is, best appears by occasions of adversity; for occasions do not make a man frail, but show what he is.” ¹ As I pondered this quote, a thought came to mind: Marriage is revelatory.
We’ve all visited that “Count it all joy” passage in James, haven’t we? Similar to other poignant Bible verses, it gives a reason for the testing process. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)
The fact that I’ve said marriage is revelatory does not necessarily indicate that I’ve had a turbulent marital life. Marriage conflict above ground can be minimized if you will deal with issues of the heart. Develop a “Jacob-like” wrestle on the inside for truth in your innermost. It will save you many a skirmish with your spouse. Trust me.
I recall a recent memory, not a solitary occurrence, when I emerged from a private time of prayer in the bedroom or office, feeling strong and anchored. Traveling the thirty feet or so to the kitchen, I encountered my wife. Details are not needed here; suffice to say, I was surprised at how a little speed bump (irritant) could so quickly surface an undesirable response from within my heart.
Truth be told, this is a two-way street in every marriage. Confess it, walk together in the light, and your fellowship will deepen. It can actually be a righteous source of humor (joy) that fuels intimacy.
One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse. Had there been a card attached, it would have said, “Here’s to helping you discover what you’re really like!” ²