We're not God
At a recent weekend away with classmates and study colleagues, we were all reminded how to keep our marriages together. Amongst the ten useful 'tips' given was one:
'Don't look to your spouse to meet the needs that only God can meet.'
In other words,
- you might find some of your identity as being married to your spouse, but your ultimate identity is in Christ. Don't look to the other person to be your 'self'.
- you should have some security from being married to your spouse, but they can't give you that ultimate security that only God can provide.
- it's great to be understanding, and your spouse is, to a point. But that understanding is always going to be limited, and may in fact wear out if you stretch it too far. God is the only one who gives complete understanding.
- Unending love is something to strive for in the Lord, but it's going to falter when you're tired, when you're cranky and when things are tough. Thankfully God is the one who will always provide unending, unfathomable, unrelenting love. Don't look for it in your spouse.
- The same goes for time, energy and resources. Spouses are limited, because we are human. God is not limited, because he is eternal.
The positive version of the above is probably to enjoy up to the limits of what your spouse can give you. And to give back to your spouse what you can give in God's strength and grace.
It is actually a point of rejoicing that neither one needs to be God for the other. Imagine what a burden that would be for us, who are so completely 'creatures' instead of 'creator'. Instead, we can seek to walk more closely with Christ and encourage our spouse to do the same.