God intended marriage to be good. Too many marriages end up in tragedy.
When seeking marriage, how do you make sure your relationship starts on the right foot?
When trying to win someone’s heart, it is natural to exert maximum effort to put your best foot forward. This ends up being the wrong foot.
To become the object of another’s affections, you conform to what they desire, which may be different than what you truly are.
If they saw how you really were, you fear, they might become disinterested and the hope of love would be destroyed.
This is why one of the most common problems in marriage relationships is expecting your spouse to be something they are not.
When hearts have been won and marriage occurs, both put less effort on their best foot and the other shoe drops. To keep the shoe from dropping, some marriages trudge along attempting to maintain maximum effort to be someone they are not.
This rarely ends well.
Therefore, the usual marriage advice is to find someone who loves you for who you really are. This way there are no false expectations and less effort is required. This can be called putting your worst foot forward.
Leading with your worst foot is not good either.
The problem with this advice is that the Bible tells us that we are all sinners, and no one wants a sinner for a spouse. This is true no matter how much they claim to love you just as you are.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
God already knows the worst about us. God has already commended his love toward us. God loves his Son, and wants us to be conformed to His image. Moreover, God provides the grace and power for this to occur through faith.
Sinners can become saints in Christ by grace through faith.
The good news for marriage is that it was never intended to be only for perfect people (or perfect matches). There is no such thing. Neither is it merely where two sinners maintain close proximity without harming each other.
Marriage is for two people to learn to love how God loves. Loving first, sacrificially, completely, by grace, in Christ, and in the face of a sinner.
You don’t have to be someone you are not for marriage to work, nor are you resigned to be the sinner that you were. You must only be who you are in Christ.
This is why the only condition given to Christians on whom they marry is “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39). This way there are no false expectations: sin will be present; but there is also hope: you know the love of Christ.
You are the hands and feet of Christ. Put that foot forward, and marriage success will be only as distant as you in Christ.