I've seen a lot of blog posts, videos, articles, and pins on Pinterest about healthy marriages. It's great to see how many people are committed to making their marriage work, and putting effort into this most difficult and intimate relationship here on earth. However, lists of "Top 10 ways to Keep Your Husband Coming Home" and "100 Things to Do to Stay in Love Every Day" or even "Keys to a Godly Marriage" are not always healthy for me. As a goal oriented person, I tend to see these lists as checklists. I diligently read through all 100 suggestions and rather than feeling inspired, I feel defeated. When I measure my marriage by these lists I see that Tim and I fall short.
However, since marriage is all about being a picture of God's grace, and a practical way to extend God's grace, the faults and failures I see in myself, my husband, and our life together should be spaces where I can see God's grace shine through rather than elements that keep me from having the "perfect" marriage.
I loved listening to this sermon today because Dr. Piper didn't give a list of tips, techniques, or date night ideas. (I'm not saying that date night ideas or the like are a bad thing, I'm just recognizing that when I measure my marriage by them, it is unhealthy for me. I'm sure that is not the intention of those who write them!) He took us to Scripture and reminded us that even carrying out God's "list" of things to work on: compassion, kindness, meekness, etc., is only achieved by sinking your roots deep into the gospel. It is only as God's chosen ones, holy, and beloved, that we can extend grace, love, compassion, and forgiveness to others. It is only when I daily sink my roots deep into Christ that I can see change and growth in myself and my husband.
I especially love the analogy that he gives at the end of the sermon of the compost pile. I know an hour may seem long, but if you have some time to spare or even just listen to this while cleaning like I did, you will be glad you listened to the end. Please take a moment to listen to the sermon, be encouraged, and sink your roots deep into the truth of the gospel.