We live in a world that craves the dramatic. We love comeback stories, rags to riches, and scandal. In the marriage ministry world that I live in, we celebrate the stories marked by big headlines: infidelity and misery, followed by forgiveness and reconciliation.
And to be clear, we should love these stories. Anytime God takes something broken and puts it back together again is worth celebrating. Only God can take something the world would say is damaged goods and put it back together again.
Not only does He bring it back together, but He can also make it stronger than it was in the beginning. I’ve heard these called “Only God Stories” because only God can do what seems impossible to man.
Our favorite movies, TV shows, and sporting events often involve a massive comeback and a dramatic plot.
When it comes to marriages, however, I’ve changed my perspective. While I love the dramatic, comeback stories, I’ve discovered there’s another kind of marriage story I appreciate even more. It’s the story I want for my kids and the story I wish I had. I’m grateful for my testimony and conversion and I’m so thankful for where I am today. I just wish I’d arrived at my current location in a different way.
A “Boring” Marriage Story
The best kind of marriage story you’ll ever hear might sound a little boring, but it’s the story you and I both want for our children and even wish we had in our own lives. The story might go something like this:
- Boy grows up in a home where Mom and Dad love Jesus. From a young age, all he knows is the love of His heavenly Father and his earthly parents. He knows the true source of joy and life, and doesn’t look to others or the world to satisfy him. He’s not perfect. None of us are. He’s aware of his need for the gospel of Jesus Christ and knows it is only by grace through faith that he’s saved (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Meanwhile, in a different family, Girl also grows up in a home where Mom and Dad love Jesus. Her parents aren’t perfect, but they both love the Lord and share the love of the Father with their children. At a very young age, she places her faith, trust, and life in Christ Jesus.
- Boy and Girl go to the same college (probably an SEC school) and make some great friends. They both struggle with the temptations of the flesh and all the world offers, but they stand strong in their faith. They meet at a campus event and develop a great friendship. Finally he asks her out on a date and she says, “yes!” They start dating with the blessing and encouragement of their friends.
- All through their college years, they wrestle with sexual desire but stay under control of the Spirit. Somewhere along the way they get engaged and then married.
Happily Ever After
Now as a married couple, they build their lives on the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ. The storms and floods come and beat against their house, but they stand firm because their marriage is built on firm ground (See Matthew 7:24-27). They eventually have kids and raise them to know Jesus and die together many years later after celebrating decades of faithfulness to each other and the Lord.
This story will not be featured in a video in your church, nor will it be the focus of a movie or book. But, it’s the story we all want for ourselves and for our children. It’s the story I’m praying for more and more because so much pain and carnage comes from making poor decisions that often lead to the dramatic.
It’s the best kind of marriage story. One of my friends calls this living a life with “more joy and less scars.”
What if this isn’t your story?
If this is not your story, and your marriage is anything but “boring,” you’re not without hope.
It reminds me of a video my friend Rob Thomas and his team at Igniter Video put together a few years ago. Grab some tissues, enjoy the video Broken Together, and then I’ll see you in a few minutes when the video is done.
If you are broken or simply want to strengthen your marriage, get some help. re|engage would be an amazing place to find hope and healing for your marriage. re|engage is now in almost 400 churches across the country.
What else can we do?
I’ve shared this in a previous post, but it bears repeating. I’m not trying to help you have a great marriage. The Bible doesn’t say much about how to have a great marriage. It does, however, tell us about who God is and what it means to be like Him. Focus on becoming more like Jesus Christ and less on becoming a better husband or wife. If you and your spouse both focus more on becoming like Jesus, God will grow your marriage.
This is part of the reason why I wrote Ready or Knot?. I want couples to be spared the pain from poor decisions and start their marriage on the right foundation from the beginning. I want to see Ready or Knot? help start countless “boring” marriages.
Do mundane work to have the marriage you want. #MakeMarriageBoring and watch God do something “un-boring” in and through you.
Today I challenge you to encourage a couple with a “boring” marriage. Send them a text, write them an email, give them a phone call, or stop by and thank them for their marriage. Pray they’d continue to be “boring” for the glory of God and the good of others.