The following was written by my good friend, Rodney Tolleson.
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF MARRIAGE AS SAND PAPER?
Pastor Rodney Tolleson, Community Bible Church, DeMotte, IN
Many years ago, a friend and I unknowingly but severely irritated a couple of young ladies in the course of our work, and fairly soon we were cornered and given what I now call the “verbal claw” treatment. At the time, I was single and my friend was married. When it was all over and we were licking our wounds, my friend made an interesting comment that taught me several lessons. As it turns out, those lessons have proven to be true through my own experience of marriage.
My friend basically said that he was glad that he had allowed God to knock off some of his rough edges before he got married so that it wouldn’t be up to his wife to do it after they got married!
There are several things that I learned from that idea. First of all, we all have a lot of rough edges. As Jimmy Evans says in his series on Building a Lasting Marriage, “We are all messed up.” God is glorified when we let Him fashion us and mold us, but sometimes that hurts. God sometimes uses the hammer and chisel of our parents. God sometimes uses the grinding wheel of our employer. God sometimes uses the file of our faithful friends.
Second, if we live in very close relationship with someone (like in a marriage) and both of us have a lot of rough edges (which we all do) that relationship can feel a lot like sandpaper at times! It may come as a shock to us to realize that God has designed marriage for His glory and our spiritual growth much more than for the fulfillment of our selfish desires. God is much more glorified when our character is transformed (our rough edges are knocked off) than when we selfishly demand that our desires be fulfilled.
The third lesson that I have learned is how much I resist the rough edges being knocked off. I don’t like to admit that I have any character flaws that need to be transformed, much less do I like it when someone close to me is God’s instrument to do the transforming. But that is the way that God works, and a godly person will learn to embrace God’s ways. Many marriages fail because the husband and wife refuse to view marriage as God’s tool for personal spiritual transformation and instead view it is as a way to have their every need fulfilled. That kind of expectation can never be met.
For those who are married in our community, may God bless and preserve your marriage! If you are widowed or divorced, may God meet your every need! And if you are yet to be married, may God lovingly knock off a few of your rough edges before you say “I do”!
The Kankakee Valley Ministers Association is sponsoring a Christian Marriage and Family Conference March 9-10 in DeMotte, IN (only about 1 ½ - 2 hours from Niles, MI). It is our hope that it will help couples not only survive in marriage but experience the joy of glorifying God in their marriages. For more information contact me at 219.987.2771.