I have always been a vivid dreamer. When I was a kid, for years I had a recurring dream about a monster in the foyer of our house. As an adult, my dreams are often about hiding from tornadoes or driving into floodwaters with my kids in the car. Every single dream seems so real that when I finally wake up in our cool, dark bedroom with Chad breathing beside me, it’s the best kind of relief.
Recently I had one of my worst dreams to date. Chad and I were on a dark, twisting road high on a mountain. I was driving, and it was raining, of course. I was struggling to see the line on the road through the steady downpour. We came to a sharp curve to the right, and I couldn’t see it. I drove off of the cliff we had been teetering on the edge of. I had the sensation of falling, though we were still strapped in by our seatbelts. We held onto each other in sheer terror, and I kept saying it over and over again: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was just waiting for the moment of impact, knowing there was nothing more I could do to save us or turn back time on my very, very wrong turn. And, all I could really think about in that terrifying, free-fall moment was how I had ruined everything, and I had taken Chad down with me.
Before you decide that I need to be psycho-analyzed, you should know that I also have quite a few dreams about aliens. So, yeah, probably need to go ahead and make that appointment.
The truth is that this terrible dream is actually a pretty good analogy for a wrecked marriage. We underestimate the weight of what we’re really doing on the day we walk down the aisle. I know when I put on a white dress at twenty-one, I wasn’t all that aware that I was actually taking my dreams, my insecurities, my issues, my fears, my entire future, and I was telling Chad and the whole world that I trust him with all of it. And, the real miracle of the whole deal is that he was doing the same with me. We were willing to lay it all at each other’s feet and just pray to God that we were both trustworthy.
It’s a brave thing, getting married.
It doesn’t take long in marriage to figure out that we are leading each other into all kinds of things, good and bad. We take on some of the same habits. We introduce each other to our tastes, and sometimes, because we are two imperfect people with sinful tendencies, we lead each other into sin. I wonder if we realize on that day at the altar, just how much we are depending on each other for accountability, for encouragement to follow Christ, for a godly example being lived out in our home, day after day?
I wonder if we really understand how sacred the gift of that trust really is?
For Christian people, marriage should be a blessing in our lives that makes us more like Christ. It should be the difference between wandering off the side of a cliff and making it safely to the next rest stop. Seeking Christ is not a singular pursuit in marriage–it’s a joint effort. Yes, we have individual responsibility to study His word and try to know Him more. But, our marriages should make us more holy, not less. They should help us to run the race with perseverance, not distract us to the point of forgetting that we’re even running.
Dear young single Christian, consider this when you are choosing a husband or wife. Really step back and take stock: will this person help you become more like Christ through the years? Or when the steep, rocky, mountainous roads crop up, will they lead you right off of a cliff?
Married Christians, are you being the type of partner who is trustworthy to carry the burden of your spouse’s sinful tendencies? Are you committed to keeping both of you on the road to sanctification, or are you losing your way and taking your spouse with you? In a one-flesh existence, there is no such thing as “my problem” or “your problem.” We are called to share our burdens, and we both have the awesome responsibility of holding tight to each other while we hold tight to Christ.
And the glory of it all is that His grip on us never fails.
We have to start viewing our marriages as fertile ground for growth and holiness. Unless we start taking our own sin seriously, we will fail in our efforts to lead each other in the ways of Christ.
You have so much more influence on your spouse than you know. Where are you leading her? Who are you encouraging him to be? My prayer is that at the end of a long and fruitful life together, Chad and I will be able to approach the throne with all assurance that we helped each other know Christ more.