Marriage is the most affirming relationship on the planet. Just to think that someone loves me to the extent that they want to spend the rest of their earthly life with me, feels like the ultimate fulfillment, and the most tremendous affirmation one can garner. But it’s a glorious shadow, cast by an even greater affirmation – Jesus has chosen me to be his eternal companion. Thus my conclusion: the ultimate fulfillment in marriage comes from each spouse finding their ultimate fulfillment in something (some One) other than their marriage. This does not preclude the need for us to focus on meeting the needs of our spouse, or suggest that we can afford to not invest in our marriage. The key is to have our desires in right proportion.
Jesus introduced to his disciples the concept of a future kingdom, called the “age to come”, where we will continue to serve as kings and priests in our resurrected bodies. Mk.10:30 The age to come became an object of present experience when God became a Man, when the Word became flesh, to deliver us from this “present evil age.” Gal. 1:4 By our partaking of Christ, we taste of the powers of the age to come. Heb. 6:5 Unlike any earthly power, this is the most potent resource for your marriage. We have built into us a God-shaped vacuum, a gnawing hunger, which can only be sated by God’s touch. The merest taste of this “other worldly essence” releases the ultimate fulfillment in life and best equips us to be Christ-like in our relationships.
A healthy component of my marriage, which continues to this day, is the way in which my wife and I seek to prioritize Jesus above all. Married couples are called to be “partners in longing”, enjoying the fulfillment received from one another, but with an ardent allegiance to a Greater Person. A marriage can become “ingrown”, preoccupied in too small a space, when the divine focus grows dim. Expectations of one another grow to be unrealistic and material possessions begin to overshadow treasures in heaven. Partners in longing are a husband and wife who have tasted of an “other worldly” power and know how to embrace its bittersweet nature. They feel the pain of self-denial when convicted to break unhealthy attachments to the inferior pleasures of this age. Holding out for the superior pleasures which garner interest in the age to come, eliminates much of the resultant liability when husbands and wives only dwell within the toxic confines of human expectations.Holding out for the superior pleasures which garner interest in the age to come, eliminates much of the resultant liability when husbands and wives only dwell within the toxic confines of human expectations. Click To Tweet
When a marriage becomes “shallow”, it often reflects the inner world of each spouse. When I drink deeply from the well of God’s presence, I come to my wife with a fulfillment that transcends anything she could humanly give me. In contrast, when I drink “shallow”, I come “needy” and often with unfair demands. Ultimate fulfillment in my mind, emanates from seeing the Lord rightly. The beauty of the Lord is absolutely transforming. Even “seeing through a glass darkly” has made us different people. 1 Cor. 13:12 God unveils his beauty to the hungry heart, to those who patiently plod forward, especially when the discovery of his beauty is shrouded in mystery or delay.
Ultimate fulfillment in marriage is wrapped up in this truth: When I’m filled to overflowing my marriage gets the spillover. The more beautiful God looks to me, the more beautiful my spouse looks to me.