I know that whenever I muse over a marital issue, Dr. Dobson is quick to point out, "LuAnne, you married a sinner...and so did he!" Admittedly, my spousal struggles may pale in comparison to yours, yet I assure you that my egotistical nature is Johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to quarrels. That's why I must constantly remind myself of author Gary Thomas' keen observation:
"Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value...the real purpose of marriage may not be happiness as much as it is holiness." (Sacred Marriage, pgs 22-23.)
This concept of self-sacrifice is beautifully laid out in chapter 5 of Steve Holt's book, The God-Wild Marriage*:
"Like a divine sculptor, God is chiseling away our sinful nature through the hammer and chisel of that other person. Yes, He is using that other person to break our stony heart, to knife into our selfish edges, smoothing us into a new person with a new purpose and a new God-wild joy. This is the other side of the cross; this is the other side of marriage.
"Yet few marriages ever reach such a point of growth. Instead of embracing the hammer and chisel and allowing it to press us into Christ, we run! We run away from and over our spouses. We often end up fighting the wrong battles, the wrong way, turning them into the wrong war.
"But God is not an uninvolved bystander. He has sovereignly given you that other person to chip and shave you into a new sculpture through the chisel and hammer of such conflicts." (pg. 87)
"If your marriage is tough, get down on your knees and thank God for your spouse. Thank Him that He is training you for battle. He is forging character in you by your submission to Jesus and His sovereign plan for your life." (The God-Wild Marriage, pg. 95)
* The God-Wild Marriage: A Roadmap to a Dangerously Fulfilling Love Life, by Steve Holt, Alliance Publishing Group, Inc., (2012)