Finally finished the Tim Keller Marriage Book. I know that's not its name but that's what everyone calls it here. Pretty sure most all of the congregation is reading it, which is so good for us all. It is Really Good, and everyone should read it.
On a vaguely related note, although I hate to admit it, I still really like all Doug Wilson's endless marriage and family books. I love how mean and straight forward he is. I love that he doesn't shy away from telling the reader even how to arrange the living room furniture. I love how deeply and insanely Calvinist he is.
Anyway, as I was reading the Keller book, I was again relieved with gratitude about my own marriage. Matt and I are by no means perfect, how boring would that be, but God has saved us many times even before we knew we needed to be saved. For example, in the course of being engaged, without knowing anything about anything, we fought and fought about theology. We had some bitter brawls about the nature of election and free will, about what the word 'inclusive' does mean and should mean, about scripture and hell and how people are saved. Everything I've subsequently read suggests you do this on purpose before you get married.
This, among other things, has made married life a breeze (especially when you compare it with giving birth a whole bunch of times and extricating oneself from the Episcopal Church, which, incidentally, is totally befuddled by the continuing steep decline). And this also is a great gift, because if Matt and I were constantly having to work on our marriage, endlessly engaged in relationship evaluation, mired in miscommunication and trouble, we would not have the emotional where-with-all to do our job.
Being married is just like any other endeavor. If you leave the hard work aside and don't attend to it, it becomes very big hard work. If you don't teach your two year old that she may not say 'no' to you, nor run away when you say to 'come here', nor fulfill every evil and rebellious desire of her tiny black heart, you eventually have a big huge teenage toddler whose heart is just as black but now everyone can see it. In marriage, if you don't come to mutually hard won agreements on the meanings of words, if you do not work very hard to quickly forgive and let things go, if you do not practice constantly putting the other person ahead of yourself, eventually you will have a big mess on your hands and come limping into the church office.
And very often, the grace of salvation is extended to those who, like me, not only do not deserve it, but didn't know it was needed in the first place. And then you can look back over the pages of the Tim Keller marriage book and weep with joy at all the pitfalls and ugliness you appear to have missed out on because God, in his great merciful sovereign purposes had some other big problem for you to work on (like your nasty sarcastic tongue) and gave you a pass on this one.
And now I will go and begin to roll that great boulder up the hill of keeping my black-hearted two year old from fulfilling herself.