What Marriage Isn’t

John & Rachel Cavanaugh

“But I have this one thing against you. You do not love Me as you did at first…” Rev. 2:4

Husband brag:  My man is good at a great number of things–  He crushes just about any sport, can cook better than Martha Stewart (so I mayyy be bias), has the patience of a saint, communicates better than most women I know, and lives to serve. But despite his incredible character, many accolades, love for God, and huge heart– my man is absolutely terrible at this one thing.

So now that you know how awesome he is and how much I love him– I’ll take an unconventional route and let you in on what he’s not so hot at. This one thing– well, it kills me (quite literally). I’m certain he’ll never get any better at it. And the worst part is– he consistently fails in it every day and will continue to for the rest of his life.

So here’s the thing: as absolutely wonderful as he is– my husband makes a terrible god.

“Your spouse makes a crappy idol.” Maybe you’ve heard other married folks say this kind of stuff. Maybe you’re like single Rachel and quite frankly just can’t imagine someone who you’d actually have to keep from idolizing– because you know, you’re just too confident and cool to actually like anyone that much. Maybe you’re like I often am, and don’t even realize that you’re operating as if your spouse is your God. So single or married, let me tell ya, IT HAPPENS, so hear me out:

My sweet hubster wasn’t created to supply all of my needs. As well as Johnny loves and knows me, he cannot give me the strength, peace, joy, love, or comfort that I so desperately need. John Erik Cavanaugh is not all sufficient in himself– so how could he possibly sustain me? He cannot. He isn’t and wasn’t ever created to be my idol. And likewise, I shouldn’t be his either. The more I try to create space for him to fit in that role, the more he fails me– and the more angry, disappointed, and bitter I become.

As a result of idolizing my spouse, I’ve directed all my attention towards having the perfect marriage, and being a exemplary wife. Making certain we’re communicating well, being a light to others, and finishing each season strong. I’ve been striving and trying so hard under all this pressure and in my own strength, that I’ve forgotten my primary role as a spouse. I’ve missed that the whole point is to help and encourage Johnny to grow in Christ, to lean on Him for his strength, love and security.  Not to control him. Not to manipulate him into being a better Christian. Not to make sure we “look good” at all times. Not to make sure we read our Bibles every morning, and pray together every night. I don’t have to work and strive, strive and work.

So many things spin out of control when I take my eyes off of Christ. If He isn’t our foundation, we will crumble. He alone holds everything together. But before Jesus Christ can be our center, He must be the sole sustainer of my life– and He can’t fill that role if I’ve replaced Him. I’ve learned the hard way that you cannot depend on your spouse to make God the center of your life for you. I must fight the lies that Christ in my life isn’t important– on the contrary, it’s EVERYTHING.  We’re two human shells, created to be dependent on Christ, learning to grow in love for one another with a non-earthly affection. Marriage isn’t about idolizing your spouse. We weren’t born to be gods.

Whether it’s our spouse, occupation, children, earthly possessions or gifts– on this side of eternity nothing will satisfy. No marriage, relationship, status, or thing can fill the void. Christ alone satisfies. Only in Him our deepest desires are met; our fears are fought; our fickle love is surpassed; our victories are determined; our voids are filled; and our joy is made complete. So go to Him and let Him love on you. His heart is already turned towards you.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deut. 6:5 

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