In light of the unfortunate release of the 50 Shades of Grey Movie this weekend, I thought I would write a post honoring marriage. I try to read a marriage book once a year, and this year I’m reading The Mystery of Marriage which was recommended by Elisabeth Elliot in one of her books that I read last month. This marriage book is different than so many others I’ve read. It’s not full of tales and guided instruction on what-to, what-not-to, how-to handle this thing called marriage. It’s written rather poetically and so far in my reading explores some of the implications for the heart and soul that come from saying “I do”. One quote I read last week has stuck with me even though the analogy was a little gross. I guess that’s probably why it stuck with me! Well, that in addition to its poignancy. It’s regarding how deeply we are exposed to this other person and to ourselves as a result of the depth of intimacy that comes from sharing life with someone.
“If a man has a pimple on his private parts, then his wife will know about it, and only his wife, and the same will be true of the minutest blemishes on his soul. For hiding is not what marriage is about.” (emphasis mine)
And that’s what is so scary about this movie. I haven’t read the book, won’t watch the movie, and don’t care to know more than what I already know about it. According to what I’ve heard, lots of (strange and often abusive) physical intimacy between an unmarried, uncommitted man and woman (I don’t know to what extent or any details). The beautiful thing about marriage is that you are fully exposed, can’t hide, and everyone’s ugly side eventually will come out. And, there you are with someone who loves you, is committed to you for better or worse, and is there despite knowing your worse. Heck! I didn’t even know my own ugliest side until I got married.
It’s toxic to be so physically intimate with a person, to expose that side of yourself while wearing a mask over your soul. It’s toxic to them, it’s toxic to you. They never know you who you really are, and you never will know who you really are. They never work out the kinks in their selfish soul, and neither do you. Nothing good can come of such a relationship.
But marriage. Whoa! Get ready for sanctification in the best way! Get ready to realize you are a work in progress. You may have thought you had it all together, thought you were incapable of such deep selfishness, thought you really weren’t that in need of grace. We all do to some degree, don’t we? I can’t tell you the blessing though of realizing this deep sin, and having someone walk along side you encouraging you to kill it. And the fruit of realizing from one year to the next that by the grace of God you really are a leeeetttlllle bit more patient, more kind, more full of grace. Oh I know I still have such a long way to go, but I can tell a vast difference in my heart from our first year to now, year six. My husband even remarks how I’ve grown to be so much more gracious, though I don’t think overall I’m nearly as gracious as I hope someday to be. What if I just had a purely sexual relationship with him, and never sought to be more gracious, more kind, more holy? Ugh! I would hate me! Yuck! I’m still often disappointed by how far I know I have to go, but am encouraged by the work that has been done and is still continuing. But we must open our hearts fully, let them be fully exposed. It will hurt, but the greatness of His work in our lives is so rewarding!
Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”