Marriage isnâ€™t, in fact, our gateway to happily ever after. Itâ€™s more like a chisel in Divine hands. And though thereâ€™s plenty of friction involved, itâ€™s designed to chip away at all the dysfunction in our lives and free the beautiful statues inside. Happiness is not the primary goal of your marriage. Becoming more beautiful by becoming your best selfâ€”more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, gentle, self-controlledâ€”is the goal. Marriage, even though it will introduce us to some of lifeâ€™s most arduous moments, has brilliant intentions in mind. Itâ€™s unapologetically interested in chipping away at our dysfunctional thoughts, patterns, and postures in life and inviting usâ€”and our spousesâ€”to become the best version of ourselves. This vision of marriage takes the expectation off of our spouses to make us happy and re-creates the expectation that our marriage exists to help us grow. This Hebrew word for loveâ€”ahavaâ€”has little to do with what one feels or receives… To the contraryâ€”ahava is actually a verb that means â€œI give.â€ â€œMarriage is not about finding â€˜the Oneâ€™ and falling in love. Itâ€™s about choosing one and, over time, becoming the â€˜right coupleâ€™.â€ Because according to almost every possible measure, being a good spouse is one of the most meaningful and extraordinary and impacting and valuable things we can do in life. Love, then, is giving for the sake of our spouseâ€™s becoming.I love it when a book references other books and you feel like you are reading from a wealth of perspectives. As such, here are some other quotes mentioned in the book that I found insightful.
â€œWhat counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.â€â€”Leo Tolstoy Shalom Arush, a Jewish rabbi and counselor, paints the picture of what I like to call the mirror phenomenon even more clearly. He says, â€œYou didnâ€™t get married to correct your spouse. You got married to be corrected, by using your spouse as a mirror.â€ Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, the authors of Intimate Allies, explain this paradox well: â€œMarriage is where depravity is best exposed â€¦ and because it, more than any other relationship, bears more potential to draw our hearts to heaven, it can more readily give us a taste of hell.â€ Love is not the twelve-part proposals or fairy-tale beginnings as much as it is the small, mundane but generous things we do for each other every day. Ann Voskamp, an author and refreshing voice on marriage, puts it perfectly when she says, â€œReal romance is really just sacrifice.â€ â€œMarriage is more than your love for each other,â€ says Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the twentieth century German theologian. â€œIt has a higher dignity and power, through which God wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind.â€
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