A sound! My beloved is knocking. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.” I had put off my garment; how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them? Song of Solomon 5:2-3 ESV
Marriage is tough. Tough for me, tough for you, tough for even Solomon. In the verses above, he comes to spend time with his wife, but she’s in bed and doesn’t want to be bothered. (She does change her mind, but by that time he’s left, creating a tension that must be resolved). Regardless of how we idolize and idealize marriage, because we are sinners marriage is tough.
A good friend joined us for dinner tonight. Sadly, he’s currently estranged from his wife. After he went home, the kids were asking about his wife (where she was living, why they weren’t together, etc.). My wife and I realized this was their first exposure to marriage that didn’t work. They didn’t understand why our friend and his wife were no longer together. This provided a great teaching opportunity for our kids. We didn’t just explain “sometimes things just don’t work out,” because that’s doesn’t address the real issues at work. Instead, we presented the gospel truth: marriage is hard work because we are all sinners. I explained to the kids that each day my wife and I sin against and hurt each other. That requires us to forgive each other. We explained to them that each night, their Mom and I have to process our day and work through disagreements we may have. It’s why we sit on the couch and yell at them when they get out of bed! It’s our time to maintain our marriage and confess any sin that has created tension between us.
I share all of this because it’s the truth. Regardless of how strong or how weak your marriage may be, you are both sinners and will continue to sin against each other. Only through constantly deciding to forgive your spouse as Christ Jesus forgave you can you have a strong marriage. If you have a hard marriage, be encouraged, forgiveness can restore things. If you have a wonderful marriage, stay humble–sin can start small…continue to forgive daily. Fights happen. Sin disarms them.