A crackerjack counselor named John Bettler once said that your marriage is in trouble the day you realize you did not marry yourself. That was not a pronouncement of doom but a call to muscular godliness.
One of the things I learned about my husband is that he is “poetic” while I am “task-oriented.” This does not mean that David doesn’t like to work, or that I don’t like poetry. It is rather a way of seeing life and moving in it. David gets as much done as I do (I haven’t figured out how) but is not tyrannized by the clock. He likes talking in bed in the morning. I like hitting the ground running at 6 a.m. While he is waxing lyrical about the rosy finger of dawn, I’m looking at my watch. This raises a spiritual question for me: Will I be more blessed by God in my work if I excuse myself from bed to get things done, or if I seek to please my husband?
My husband is also relaxed about the task of reading the Bible together. I told him when we got married that my brother and his wife read the Bible every day together and that’s what I want. “Let’s have a schedule,” I said. David is not a schedule kind of guy. Sometimes he forgets my schedule. Sometimes we go for a few days without reading the Bible together. When that happens I have a few choices. I can get all in my feelings and start wondering if I missed my calling to singleness. And if I nurse that thought for a while it eventually comes out sideways and tends to spoil the entire day. Alternatively, I can ask myself what is the godliest way imaginable to handle the situation. I didn’t have to ask myself such questions in the old days when I was single. Marriage is an institution that has a way of putting pressure on areas of your life heretofore dormant, to make them come to the surface so you can deal with them—to perfect you in a way you could not be perfected as a hermit.
This morning I did something extremely unusual for me. Rather than send a dig, I simply said, “Hey, David, let’s read a chapter of the Bible.” And guess what. He simply anwered, “Sure,” and picked up the Bible and read me two.
And the day was not spoiled. And I learned something about marriage diplomacy, and that the ways of God work better than the ways of man. Ah, the sanctifying by-product of marriage! Ah, the surpassing wisdom and knowledge of God!