As most of my readers know, I like to go to the movies. I also like to read books. What makes a great movie or a great book? Drama. What do I mean by drama? In great movies and books, there are good guys and bad guys and some problem that must be solved. The good guys are trying to solve the problem. The bad guys are trying to keep the good guys from solving the problem (or are the problem themselves). And for the good guys to solve the problem there must be struggle, suffering, and challenge. When the good guys overcome the challenge and solve the problem we rejoice. Without suffering, there would be no story worth watching or reading.
Why is it in marriage we forget the vows that deal with sickness, poverty, the bad, and death? People want the fairy tale. But what fairy tale is there that doesn’t include struggle, suffering, and challenge? The woman wants Prince Charming to come and sweep her off her feet. Fair enough. But when he comes to her, he’s overcome dragons, witches, ogres, high water, and maybe even death. She wants to be swept off her feet because her life isn’t full of roses and tea parties. She faces jealous sisters (or step-mothers), insecurity, an absent father, and other hard times. So the prince shows up with the smell of blood, sweat, and tears on his body and finds the princess in the same condition. But oh, we love the story!
Back to the question. Why can’t husbands and wives see the struggle, suffering, and challenges their marriages face are working toward a beautiful story that will end up to the glory of God? Without the suffering, there would be no story worth telling within marriage. God is doing a work in the midst of suffering for His glory and our good. And know this, there is a happily ever after coming. The story He is telling will be one of beauty that will make much of Jesus who alone is worthy to be praised. This is part of how marriage is a reflection of the gospel. Through suffering, the Bridegroom rescues His bride from suffering, makes much of her, and gives her His kingdom.
I pray that husbands and wives reading this who are going through a difficult time in their marriage will first look to Jesus, second remember their vows, and third will be reminded that all great stories have suffering. For without suffering, there is no story.