Marriage is hands down one of my favorite topics to talk about.
If we were meeting for coffee and you were to bring up the topic of marriage, chances are I wouldn’t be able to shut up about it. I’d have a lot to say about what I’ve learned in the past three and a half years.
As we sipped our iced caramel macchiatos, I would tell you that marriage is the best thing I’ve ever done, as well as the hardest, most vulnerable… and most hilarious. I would have a twinkle in my eye telling you all the best things about being married to your best friend and the ridiculously goofy moments that inevitably occur when you live under the same roof with them.
But I would also tell you the truth. I wouldn’t sugarcoat the hardships, the daily lessons in selflessness, and the constant fight to keep communication lines open. I wouldn’t skim over the fact that a flourishing marriage takes WORK. It takes some major effort and heart change. It’s going to take some serious stretching and growing, and friend, those things are painful!
I would also tell you about what marriage cannot do for you. Marriage cannot fulfill, complete, satisfy or rescue you.
The world definitely paints a different picture of marriage and relationships than what is actually true.
From a young age, we’re taught (especially as women) to seek out that one person who magically completes us and makes us whole. That person who meets all of our qualifications; someone who has a steady job, a college degree, no debt, never smells bad, showers you with love, affection and Tiffany & Co… and poops rainbows. (Yes this is a ‘pretty’ Christian blog and I said the word ‘poop’, #authenticity.)
Inevitably we spend so much of our lives trying to find this perfect person so that we can have that happily ever after life we’ve always dreamed of, so we can be complete, and so the world can accept us. Maybe even more so, so that we can accept ourselves. Then, and only then, can our life truly begin.
This mindset results in single people sulking around and missing out on the life God has for them because they are so absorbed with the fact that they haven’t found “the one” yet. Meanwhile discounting that ‘nice guy’ from church that you’ve friend zoned and walked all over for the last five years but still treats you like a princess. If only you could find someone with all of his qualities, but who maybe looks a little more like Channing Tatum… (major pet peeve… but I digress).
This same thought process creates so many couples that rush into marriage carrying bucketloads of false expectations of perfection.
It also results in those with low self-esteem settling for the first guy that comes along and forcefully attempting to mold and change them into their version of perfect…
Marriage and committed relationships are hard. The truth is that no matter how ‘perfect’ that person looked like to you on paper when you were dating, they are a flawed human being that will at some point hurt, confuse, and disappoint you… not to mention make you so angry you can’t see straight. The Disney movies and rom coms didn’t tell us about the bad breath, financial problems, tax season, the time(s) both of you thought the other one paid the water bill, or that you will actually sometimes get so busy that you’ll forget to make time for intimacy.
Weird, how they left all that out.
The truth is, we all have this void that we desperately want to be filled. For some of us, I would say especially as girls who grew up in church, we buy into this lie that marriage will fill this void once and for all. I’m here to tell you today that if you are trying to find someone to fill that void and complete you, you will continue to struggle with this emptiness even more so in marriage. And it doesn’t stop there.
After you’re married, you will find yourself believing things like, “now, once we have 2.5 kids and our dream house, then, I will be fulfilled.”
“Once I get this promotion…”
“Once we take this vacation…”
The cycle continues, and so does the impending heaviness of disappointment when you realize that you’ve achieved these things, but are still so, so empty.
Luckily, friends, there is a better way.
We have this amazing God who loves us and created the ins and outs of our inmost beings. He knows the desires of our heart and longs to fill our voids of emptiness with His wholeness. He is the only one who satisfies. He is the only one who completes us. In Him, and Him alone, we are made whole.
I love this verse in John 4 where Jesus said; “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again, but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!”
In this life the world and everyone around us is constantly thirsting for meaning, acceptance, and love; and all it has to offer are temporary thirst-quenchers.
It is imperative in every realm of our lives that we realize the truth: the only thing that can fill this void is a relationship with Jesus. He is the only one who can satisfy.
Compliments from friends, and words of affirmation from pastors and mentors can’t fill it.
Achievements and accomplishments won’t touch it.
Knowledge and education, and even good deeds won’t come close to filling it.
My husband can’t fill it by doing everything exactly the way I want, or by showering me with attention, or with a #wcw post on instagram about how I’m the best wife ever and so much better than everyone else’s wife… ouch… but true.
These are all ‘seemingly good things’, but they are not enough to make us whole. They are the best of what the world has to offer in its imitation of love and goodness. But we have JESUS. The very truth and definition of love and wholeness. He longs to fill that void in your heart.
My spouse, though he is incredible, and certainly enriches and complements my life and every part of who I am, does not, and cannot complete me, and that is a GOOD thing.
Can we call off the search today, friends? We have found the only one who can fulfill and make us complete. Be whole in Him today. I promise you it will spread over into every area of your life.
Pray and make the conscious decision today to let your emptiness be filled by Him today, and always. I know it’s something I need to decide daily.