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Is God my Husband?

August 16, 2010

In conversation with a friend the other day I was told to remember that marriage is meant to mimic  my relationship with God.  Really?  Am I supposed to see God in my husband?  I have thought about this for several days now, and have still drawn little connections. God wouldn’t leave his daily contacts dried up and sticking to the bathroom floor.  God wouldn’t frequently forget to close the bottom dresser drawer so that His wife trips on it when she gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  I also don’t think God would go “slipper gliding” every single night across the entire length of our family room-to-bedroom hardwood floors.  I don’t think God would do lots of things that a husband does.

But this is a good old Christian concept that has somehow stood the test of time.  I remember this idea being ingrained into me in high school youth groups (along with the fear of sex, the need to wear turtle necks to remain modest, and the desire to go to movie theaters and tell random strangers about Jesus by handing out pamphlets – a truly GREAT way to not freak people out about religion), so obviously it was one I’d heard before.  But clearly youth group taught me a world of wrongs (but also led me through some small countries of “right”), so I still remained skeptical of my friend’s comment.

We invited different friends of ours who have been married for a couple of years over to our house this past weekend.  After dinner and casual conversation, we were sitting in our living room talking more honestly about our experiences of marriage thus far.  My friend very astutely pointed out that he never knew he was so selfish until he got married.  Never was there a sentence overflowing with so much embarrassing truth.  I laughed out loud, “That’s it!  That’s the problem!”  I don’t know why that simple statement never came to mind before, but that is the heart behind all my married idiocy – I am selfish.  When I nag my husband about calling the car insurance guy, it has nothing to do with him – I want it done so that I don’t have to think about it anymore.  When I argue with him about putting shredded cheese (gross) on my beautifully crafted pollo asado with rice and beans; it has nothing to do with wanting him to enjoy a better meal – I just don’t want him to ruin what I have created.  I want him to put his clothes away so that I don’t have to look at them.  I want wedding thank you notes written so that I don’t look bad in front of our friends. Perhaps I was thinking about eating wedding cake when 1 Corinthians 13 was read at my wedding.

It is sad that this idea of selfishness is where I found the connection between my marriage and God.  After I criticized and judged and flipped out over the concept of unhealthy shredded “cheesy rice” being consumed in my home, my husband talked it out with me, laughed at me, and forgave me.  When we got back late at night from our honeymoon and I let a long string of expletives fly out of my mouth after finding my entire bedroom stuffed with balloons, my husband somehow calmed me down, took out a pair of scissors, and began popping them for me.  This is relationship – human selfishness somehow mixed with unconditional love.  If that is how marriage is supposed to mimic relationship with God, then that is a connection I can see, and latch onto.  If my relationship with God is simply a long line of selfish human decisions mixed with a long line of unconditional godly forgiveness and grace, then I am learning for the first time how horribly self serving I’ve been in that relationship as well.  Marriage holds a mirror up to every and all of my flaws, and selfishness continues to be the flag waving the highest and most fervently.  It is most prominent with God and I too.

I am encouraged because, contrary to popular opinion, this is not a trait unique to me.  If there is anything comforting in realizing how crazy you are, it is realizing that everyone else is just as crazy too…some people, if not a little bit more.  I am selfish, my husband is selfish, our friends are selfish, and we will inevitably teach our children to be selfish, as our parents taught it to us (thanks Mom and Dad).  As I navigate this new reality in this very new marriage that is teaching me all kinds of new things, I can stop and take a few lessons from how I treat my husband, and how he treats me.  While no, I am not married to God (He knows better than to get locked into that legal agreement with me), I am in a relationship that is showing how I interact with the person from whom I receive unconditional love.  What do I do in response to that unconditional love?  How do I respond?  Do I take it for granted and use if for my own gain, as I feel I’ve been doing lately?  Or do I do my best to return in wholeheartedly and with sacrifice to myself, as I ought?  Whichever way I choose to treat my husband is perhaps an indication of how I treat God – and right now I don’t know which reality is more frightening.

But therein lies the security and joy of both relationship with God and spouse – while this crazy person called Wife figures herself out, neither person is going anywhere.  I take heart in knowing that.  There is growing room, there is time and grace for me to straighten myself out.  There is hope and goodness that comes out of the process of trying to change.  And at the very least, if God is indeed a central figure in my marriage, at least now both He and my husband are quite clear that “cheesy rice” must never be discussed as an option for dinner.  A girl’s got to draw her line somewhere.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy G permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:19 pm

    A friend of mine from Gordon did her senior thesis on the role of “the other” in certain of George MacDonald’s works. In the few fairytales she explored, she showed how he used two contrasting characters to bring one (or both) of them to fuller development.

    I’ve since come to believe that it is encountering the other that we truly become ourselves. Your post expounded this to me in a beautiful way. 🙂 It’s how I make any sense of what it means to be “married” to God, and I think human marriage is the same way.

    I pray that you both will cherish every moment of being the transformative “other”.

  2. Jess permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:48 am

    Lauren, every time I see you have written a new blog entry, my heart does a little leap for joy. You are such an entertaining writer! And I can just picture you in all these descriptions. It’s so fun. Keep it up. 🙂

  3. Jenna permalink
    August 22, 2010 12:11 pm

    You are seeking and finding great truth Lauren. Wisdom is abounding in your journey!

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