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The Promise You Can’t Keep in Marriage

By John Mark Comer 

Friendship.

Support.

Sexuality.

Family.

Recreation.

That’s why you get married. That’s why God created marriage.

Here’s the problem—that’s not why most people get married.

At least, that’s not why I got married. I got married to be happy.

Don’t get me wrong. I was into all that other stuff. She was my closest friend. There was a calling on our life together that we were excited about. Sex…uh…yes. And we both wanted a family one day. But none of those reasons were the reason.

Like millions upon millions of other Americans, I married for happiness.

That sounds innocuous at first glance. Heck, it sounds romantic. But the trouble is that happiness is the result of a healthy marriage. It’s not the reason for marriage. Happiness is a great thing, but it’s the by-product, the afterclap of marriage. It’s not the point.

God doesn’t look down on Adam and say, “He looks sad. He needs a lift. He needs another human being to quench the thirst of his soul. I will make him a helper to satisfy his deepest longings. Eve, the pressure’s on.” Of course not. Only God can do that.

A spouse is not a substitute for God.

The point of marriage isn’t to find our missing half. It’s to help each other become all God intended. Our future, real selves. In marriage, two people partner to that end. They see the best in each other—the person God created them to be—and they push and pull each other toward that goal.

Don’t get married because you think he or she is “the one.” Trust me, they’re not. There’s no such thing! But do get married when you see who God is making somebody to be, and it lights you up. When you want to be a part of that story of transformation, that journey to the future. When you are well aware it will be a long and bumpy ride, but you don’t want to miss one mile. Because you believe in God’s calling on them, and you want in.

My wife makes me a better person. She calls out the best in me. She calls me to live up to who I really am, to who God is making me to be.

She also brings out the worst in me. What Paul calls “the flesh.” The ugly, nasty part of me that doesn’t want to change. She exposes my selfishness and my pride.

That’s why marriage is humbling. I thought I was a pretty decent guy—and then I got married. Turns out I’m kind of a toolshed. It’s easy to be a decent guy when you live in a bubble. But when you step into marriage, your true colors bleed out. It’s like squeezing a sponge. Whatever is on the inside comes out, for better or for worse.

I cringe when I’m at a wedding where the guy says, “I promise to make you happy.” I want to stand up and scream, “You can’t keep that promise. It’s impossible. You aren’t God!”

Stranger Takes Photo of Family at Disney—Then He Promises He’s Not “Creepy” & Makes 1 Heartbreaking Request

"Several minutes later the same man who had just taken our picture walked up to us, in tears, and asked if we had a moment. He promised he wasn't creepy and introduced himself as Scott and his wife as Sally."

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