For this week’s reading on marriage, I reread Keller’s chapter on the mission of marriage from The Meaning of Marriage. He emphasized the fact that marriage is intended to be a deeply satisfying spiritual friendship in which the character of both partners is being continually improved (partly) through the constancy and transparency of the relationship.
I don’t have much to say about this chapter, though I found it very helpful. But I wanted to include some quotes from it that I thought were excellent:
What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us. (120)
Within this Christian vision for marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!'” (121)
If we let Him [God] . . . He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. (122) –C. S. Lewis
The reason it [marriage] must have priority is because of the power of marriage. Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength. However, if your marriage is weak, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are marked by success and strength, it won’t matter. You will move out into the world in weakness. Marriage has that kind of power—the power to set the course of your whole life. It has that power because it was instituted by God. And because it has that unequalled power, it must have an unequalled, supreme priority. (131)
Is all this [improving one’s marriage] a lot of work? Indeed it is—but it is the work we were built to do. Does this mean “marriage is not about being happy; it’s about being holy”? Yes and no. As we have seen, that is too stark a contrast. If you understand what holiness is, you come to see that real happiness is on the far side of holiness, not the near side. Holiness gives us new desires and brings old desires into line with one another. So if we want to be happy in marriage, we will accept that marriage is designed to make us holy. (132 through 133)
He [God] gives the happiness there is, not the happiness that is not. To be God—to be like God and to share his goodness in creaturely response—to be miserable—these are the only three alternatives. If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows—the only food that any possible universe can ever grow—then we must starve eternally. (133) –C. S. Lewis