This is the last part of a three part series on the essential perspectives we need in marriage, taken from Paul Tripp's book What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.
The first reality is that we live out our marriages in a fallen world, a world that does not function as God intended it to function. A second reality is that we are less than perfect human beings. Sinful desires war against our soul and the soul of our spouse. Those desires, given an opportunity, cause turmoil in our relationship. The third reality is the most important. While the first two realities are true and vital to understand, the last reality is the one that gives us hope. This last reality reminds us that we are not alone. God is near. And God is faithful, powerful and willing to help.
This reality reminds us that when life is tough, when marriage is tumultuous, God does not leave us to our own resources. My temptation – and its a guy thing – is when I see a problem, I try to solve it in my own resources. That can work some times, but other times we don't have the resources we need in ourselves. I simply don't have the resources I need to love my spouse as Christ loved the church. I don't have the resources I need to be willing to give myself up for her as Christ gave himself up for the church. But God does. He has those resources available and he is committed to giving us everything we need to live out our marriages in a way that honors Him.
God is faithful. The classic example of God's faithfulness is Jesus Christ. When mankind sinned, God made promises of redemption. And he guided history and events and circumstances until, in the fullness of time, He sent His Son to be born on earth. And in obedience to God the Father, that Son fulfilled God's promises of redemption by being the atoning sacrifice for our sin. If God can fulfill promises that require the ordering of history, do you think he can be found faithful in your life and marriage?
God is also powerful. He is the sovereign authority over all the earth. He is creator. He sustains the world. He holds power over death. And one day complete victory will be His. If God has sovereign power over the whole world, do you think He can demonstrate His power in your life and marriage?
Finally, God is willing. It is great to have a God who is faithful and powerful, but He also has to be willing to act in our lives. And He is willing, not because of what He sees in us, but because of what is inside of Him. God is a God of mercy. He is the source of love. He is full of grace. A person could continue to list His character traits – goodness, gentleness, patience, kindness and so on. God is willing even when we are unwilling. And He is a God who delights in transforming people and situations.
And so when life is tough, when the fallen world savages you, when living with your spouse is a painful chore, know that we do not stand alone. We might be standing in weakness, in temptation, in struggle, but we do not stand alone. God is with us. He is faithful in all things. His power is the answer to our weakness. And he is willing to come in and transform both ourselves and our spouse.