When we first started out, Devin could do no wrong. He always said the right thing, did the right thing, surprised me at just the right time. Things were, literally, perfect – in my eyes. We spent every spare minute together. Devin would drive 45 minutes nearly every night after work to be with me, we talked for hours on end without arguing, we did everything together and we loved every minute of it. Devin was my love, my source of hope and my joy.
We went on a Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon and I remember sharing a lounge chair on the back of the boat one evening after dinner. You could smell the warm salt air and hear the waves softly splashing against the hull. And in that perfect moment, I remember saying to Devin, “I don’t think anyone else in the entire world has ever had a love this strong. We are perfect together.” We had checked all the boxes for a healthy marriage: We did the premarital counseling, we had the same thoughts on money (or so we thought), our parents were all still married, we were both Christians, we believed that God had brought us together, we scored super well on the compatibility test the pastor gave us… We were guaranteed to make it. And I honestly, sincerely believed it – in that moment…. And for many moments after that.
If I’m being honest, somewhere along the line I started to not feel that way anymore. Devin wasn’t always doing the right things anymore. He left the bathroom a total mess in the morning, he didn’t always say the right things, he slept with his mouth open and heaven forbid I just needed a break from him sometimes! Come to find out, he wasn’t as perfect as I had once made him out to be!
But looking back, shame on me! Here I thought I was this great Christian woman who had invited God into our relationship and marriage. Oh, I had invited a god in alright, but it wasn’t our Heavenly Father. No, I had mistaken the husband role for the god role. All of those things God promises to provide for us – love, salvation, trust, peace, hope, joy – I had expected all of them to be provided by none other than Devin! And up until a certain point he had done a fine job of meeting my needs. I trusted him, he provided a ton of joy and laughs, I felt peaceful with him by my side, and I certainly felt the love! But the problem with putting our hope and salvation in anything but Christ is that it doesn’t last. People are human and, unfortunately, they inevitably let us down. I learned the hard way that you can not expect of people (even your beloved husband), what only God can deliver. Christ is the only perfect one. The ONLY source of salvation, true peace, hope and joy. If our trust is in anything but the Lord, it is a false trust. People will eventually let us down – even the best of the best. We are all human and we are all imperfect (can I get an amen!?!).
Sure, Devin might disappoint me, but I can guarantee that I have disappointed him plenty, too! We are both human, after all. And after enough disappointment from one another, it can start to feel a little less like love, and a little more like a burden. But there is hope! If we find our salvation, our worth, our true peace, hope and joy in Christ, we don’t have to rely on others to fill those needs. If we stop expecting our husbands (or wives) to fill our deepest needs and let the one true God who created us and loves us more deeply than we could ever imagine begin to fill those needs, we can love our spouses for who they are. Even in their imperfection and the disappointments they bring. We can know that our worth and honor comes from the Lord and our spouse has been given to us as a helpmate, a friend, a confidant, a lover – not a savior.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Since realizing this truth, our relationship has changed. There is still disappointment and sometimes arguing, but there is peace and a trust like never before. Our identities are both found in Christ and we no longer rely on our marriage to provide the things that only God can provide. Please know that I tell this story from a place of humility. It is through God’s grace that we have come to know his truth and our prayer is for you to know the same – and to hopefully learn from our mistakes :)