The Larger Story
As we counsel, speak, and otherwise minister to married coupes, Karen and I are committed to helping them understand something that we learned firsthand during those troubled early years of our marriage.
That lesson is this: It is never too late to start over. It is never too late to make your marriage work.
No matter how dysfunctional your marriage seems. No matter how distant you feel. No matter how much pain you've endured or afflicted, you can decide today to change course.
The same God who supernaturally bound you together in the covenant of marriage is longing to help you turn your marriage into the love affair He wants it to be. The first step toward letting Him do so this requires embracing the important truth that your marriage is not an accident.
God brought you together. He ushered you to the front of the church that day. He planned your relationship long before you were born. Any damage that has been done is a direct result of Satan's desire to destroy everything God creates.
The different between a failing marriage and a successful marriage involves the perspective toward it held by the husband and wife. Are they seeing the smaller story or the larger story?
The larger story is that God has a magnificent dream for your marriage, a story much greater than you could possibly imagine. He wants to do things in and through your relationship, things that are eternal and lasting and supernatural. He has plans for you greater than you could hope to comprehend.
If your marriage is struggling, it is because you have lost sight of that reality. When I see a marriage in trouble, I see two people who are completely caught up in the small story of their own lives.
They are so focused on their own pain, their own needs, and their own selfish desires that it's impossible for them to see God's bigger picture.
Living in the smaller story means getting engrossed in petty things like bills and cars and houses—and pouting when those things don't go your way. No couple will ever find true happiness and fulfillment with that kind of small-story focus.
God exists in the larger story, and that's where He wants to take you:
In the larger story, you are married to the one person God created just for you.
In the larger story, it was God who brought you to the altar and molded your hearts and lives together into one flesh.
In the larger story, God has a glorious plan and purpose for your marriage.
The larger story is about you and your spouse and God. And only in this larger story can God bring your relationship to its full potential.
"‘For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Which story will you and your spouse focus on today: the smaller story or the larger story?