Our wedding day was picture perfect. 10 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen, and 200 of our closest friends and family. I know, big wedding-and that’s what we loved about it! My wedding dress remains the most beautiful gown I have ever seen-designed by Oleg Cassini who designed many of Jackie O’s gowns as First Lady. I spent hours with my wonderful friend hand crafting tiny flowers for our invitations. Three of the dearest men alive were prepped and ready to speak on our behalf during the ceremony. Every detail was perfect. Except for one-or two, for that matter.
The Bride and Groom.
My fiancé Guy and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that marriage was not about warm fuzzies all the time. We had been told and we had witnessed for ourselves plenty of marriages that ended in disaster. The statistics were pretty harsh and we took them seriously.
We wrote our own vows with all the heartfelt emotion and wonder of two young pups in love but we said it loud and clear for everyone to hear as part of our pledge to one another, “I will not divorce you.”
It sounds a little callous. A little cold. This idea that love is a choice. A commitment to honor your vows and to honor God. I recently heard a pastor speak on “The Defense Of Romantic Love In Marriage”. And he was right. God intended marriage to be a beautiful picture of love-in both it’s choices, and in its emotions.
But what happens when you marry Mr. Wrong?
Because I did.
And sadly, he married Ms. All Wrong too.
You see, it boils down to the purpose of life. Jesus sums it up for us when the religious leaders of His day asked Him which of the commands was the greatest.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-40 (The Message)
There it is-what do you when you marry the wrong man or woman? You love God and you love them as well as you love yourself. I could never fulfill that kind of love outside of a radical, devoted, passionate love for God. And I sure can’t love like that if I’m busy meditating on all the ways my husband falls short.
You see, every man is the wrong man. Every woman is the wrong woman. Satan set out to mar paradise in the garden with Adam and Eve and they took the bait by taking the bite.
And no one ever loved unconditionally again. No man is able to love to the point of dying for their enemies on the cross because of total love. Only Jesus. But for a long time, I wanted my husband to be Mr. Right who knew me to the core, was able to read my mind, showered me in a storm of words of affirmation and came home with flowers every week. I wanted him to pick the right size shirt when he buys me a gift and set me up behind a white picket fence. But that’s not my Guy.
My Guy is who God made him to be. Better for me than I would have guessed. He’s the Guy who is so devoted that I never question his loyalty. He’s the Guy who wrestles with his sons on the floor, and wrestles for their hearts in prayer. He’s the Guy who shows courage as he follows his God-sized dreams and takes faith risks when it would be easier for him to play it safe. He’s the Guy who loves me better than anyone ever has.
I know that God tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. But the moment I start trying to be my husband’s conscience and remind him of that because I don’t think he is doting on me enough, speaking my love language, prioritizing the way I do, leading like I want him to, or being Mr. Right in whatever capacity I decide that looks like, then I am focusing on the wrong thing. And our marriage will suffer for it.
I married Mr. Wrong. He got Ms. All Wrong. But it’s alright.
It’s alright because we know that no man or woman is perfect. It’s alright because we are both sinners saved by amazing grace. It’s alright because we choose to love when the other is unlovely. And it’s alright because when we fail at that, we wake up to a new day and new mercies.
I can spend my time grieving what I don’t have. Or I can spend time worshiping a God who loved me unconditionally and sent me His only Son to die for me on the cross. I can bemoan that my husband doesn’t love me like that and wallow in guilt about my own self-centeredness. Or I can rejoice that God’s love for us is perfect and honor Him by focusing on the way I love my husband instead of the other way around.
My husband Guy will tell you that I married Mr. Wrong and that he married Ms. All Wrong. If you are looking for the ideal marriage, pass right on by our house. But if you want to know what it looks like to live without your prince charming and princess perfect, then come on in. We pray that every day we remember that those “marriage” verses in the Bible are not meant for us to measure our spouse by, but to gauge ourselves. Spend your energy on loving God and loving others. Start with your spouse. Don’t do it because you want a result. Do it because your life is not your own, bought with a precious price, and realize that the love you seek is already yours.
I suspect you married Mr. Wrong and that you may well be Ms. All Wrong. But I pray that today you see that it’s alright.
YOUR TURN! What has your marriage journey looked like? What do you need to do in light of the fact that maybe you married Mr. or Ms. Wrong? How can I pray for you?
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