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This Isn’t the Marriage of My Dreams, But Knowing My Purpose Gives Me Hope


Do you have a dream for your marriage?

Maybe you’re STILL waiting for that dream to come true.

Perhaps you’ve given up on that dream- the vision of your “perfect” marriage- and are lamenting the fact that you’re “stuck” in this lackluster relationship, going through the motions, wishing things would change.

(If you are desiring change in your marriage, start HERE.)


If any of these thoughts resonate, then this is the post for you. Read on to discover the hope that lies in knowing and embracing your purpose in marriage.

But first…


Dreams

Think back to when you were a kid- what was your dream then?

Do you still drift back to that dream- maybe with nostalgia and a touch of sadness- wishing things had turned out different?

OR, perhaps you’re living that dream?

You’ve structured your life in such a way that you’ve achieved it. Are you happy and content? Has your life and marriage thrived in pursuit of that dream?


If you’re having trouble answering the “What’s your dream?” question, think of it this way:

What gets you up in the morning? What are you hoping for?


As for me?

Well, my dreams have shifted over the years.

When I was 8, I was going to be a famous cheerleader (is that possible?). Never once did I even try cheerleading.

When I was 15, I was going to be on the Olympic women’s basketball team. Then I turned 16 and decided not even to try out for my HS basketball team again.

When I was 20, I was going to be a famous musician. At 25, I started teaching music instead.

I also wanted to marry Leonardo DiCaprio.

That obviously did not happen.


It can be very exciting: thinking of the limitless possibilities dreams can bring.

Our culture prides itself on a “You can do anything you set your mind to” mentality.

But is that reality?

Does chasing after our personal dream- our own vision of what marriage should look like- bring us true satisfaction? Deep down, heart level contentment…that lasts?

I’m gonna go counter-cultural here and say no, it doesn’t.

But, why not?

Whatever dreams we hold can easily become idols in our lives if we don’t keep them in check. They can drive our days, months, years or even decades if we aren’t careful.
And in those days, weeks, months, and years, pursuit of our dreams may bring satisfaction (it’s very attractive to do things for ourselves!), but ultimately, if our actions are not aligned with God’s purpose/calling on our life, the satisfaction our personal dreams bring will fizzle.

Not all dreams are bad

For example…

I have a dream that one day our house will be cleaner, more organized, and updated; free from the chaos that having 4 kids in 5 years (with two parents working outside the home) brings. I dream this dream every day as I stare at the sticky floors, climb over clutter, pick up piles of toys, and go round-and-round in circles like the never-ending loads of laundry in our dryer.

Is it wrong to want a clean house, free of clutter and more functional?

No.

But…

When my dream of a clean house stands in the way of loving my husband and children the way God calls me to, it has become an idol, and it must be torn down.

(Idols of the heart stand in the way of the abundant life to which God has called us. Ask the Lord to tear them down. You can start by reading THIS.)


You may say I’m a dreamer.

(Like John Lennon said in his song Imagine.)

Are you that way, too? A big vision kind of person; always with a new idea ready to put into motion?

God designed you that way, with a purpose for designing you that way, but if you don’t submit your big vision to HIS vision, those dreams/ideas become distractions.

We cannot allow the attractiveness of our personal dreams to pull from pursuit of God's purposes.

Sometimes our dreams align exactly with what God has called us to do. For example, one dream I didn’t formerly mention was my love of writing. I’ve dreamed of writing professionally in some capacity since I was in 2nd grade (I filled 8 journals that school year).

My friends and family know I have always loved writing; it’s how I best communicate and express my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

Over the years, I’ve used writing to journal, write poetry, love letters, and stories, and compose songs and lyrics. It wasn’t until last year that I started writing to share God’s Word with others. And there it is: my love of writing used to glorify HIM.

I love when God does that! He is so generous.


But, what if it’s just not clear?

You may be wondering: Well, how do I know if my dreams are aligned with God’s calling on my life? My dreams aren’t bad, but I’m not receiving any clear instruction or direction with regard to my purpose… or rather, HIS purpose for me.

Oh my friend, I HEAR you. As a matter of fact, I am in one of those gray areas of life right now. An important question to ask yourself in those times is:

Who am I working to please right now? Myself? Someone else? Or the Lord?

Also, let me encourage you with this:

If you are working to please the Lord, He WILL bless that (Colossians 3:23-24).

Dreams… Marriage…

What do our dreams have to do with marriage?

Well, most of us had an idea of what we wanted our spouse (and marriage) to be like even before we met our husband/wife.

We imagined how our spouse would look, how we’d spend our married days together, how many kids we’d have, what our family “culture” would be like. We may have even chosen each other because of how our spouse “fit” in our dream.

In short, we had dreams for our marriage.

Perhaps those dreams have been dashed or disappointed. If so, where do we go from that place of brokenness? (Maybe your unfulfilled dreams/desires are fueling fights in your marriage? If so, click HERE for help.)

God does NOT want us to just sit in our shattered dreams and wait for change. He wants to give us a powerful passion for our brand new purpose: HIS purpose and calling on our life and marriage.

Purpose

Do you know God’s purpose for your life? Your marriage?


To be clear, if you are married, you are called to be married! It IS part of God’s purpose for your life.

So, your marriage is something in which you must invest. (What does it look like to invest in your marriage? Read more HERE.)

With God’s purpose in focus, we can run in powerful pursuit of His calling. Along the way, He will fulfill our dreams in ways only HE can do.

When God's purposes for our marriage become our own, new dreams are birthed. What we never imagined possible is now our goal. A God-honoring marriage is the best dream-made-reality that could ever come to fruition. Are you ready to make this your new dream?


What IS His Purpose?

Understanding God’s purpose for your marriage is vital for a proper perspective, and making your dream marriage come true. It provides the fuel to go the distance. (For 2 more secrets to a life-long, successful marriage, check THIS out.)

That’s why we focus on it so much here at VowsToKeep. (For more information about our marriage ministry, click HERE.)

In a nutshell, the purpose of marriage is to show a picture of God’s love for His people; a living example of Jesus’ sacrificial love for the church and the church’s response to Him.

This is powerful. It’s the Gospel in action!

You must love your spouse emotionally, physically, with your words, with your heart, with your mind, etc., but you must love Biblically.

That means sacrificially, without expectation of being loved in return. In other words, God asks you to do this whether you see results or not.

And if you don’t see results, or don’t see your dream coming true, you must stay focused on the purpose: to show God’s love so that your spouse and those around you might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. You’re loving like Him because that’s how HE loves YOU (Romans 5:8).

Loving your spouse to demonstrate God’s purpose for your marriage will glorify HIM and further His kingdom, and THAT is a blessing in and of itself. HE will sustain you, fill you, give you strength (Philippians 4:19).


For more resources to help understand God’s purpose of marriage, check out the following resources:

With His purpose in focus, what has God called you to DO in your marriage? In this post, we’ll look at 2 callings: Stay and Steward.


Stay

God wants you to be married to the spouse He has given you.

There is no other marriage that is better for you besides the one in which He currently has placed you.

When our marriage doesn’t measure up to our expectations, it’s easy to think, maybe I married the wrong person? That is a lie.

There is always hope for your marriage if you’re submitting and surrendering to Christ.

For help and encouragement to stay in your marriage, please read the following:

Or listen to the following podcasts:

Steward

God has called you to be a good steward in your marriage.

He has designed you specifically to be the husband/wife your spouse needs.

This means using your many talents and strengths to balance and complement your spouse, which in turn strengthens your marriage.

There’s a lot of power in that!


To be a good steward in your marriage, you must…


First: Consistently be in relationship with God through His Word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers.
How well you love your spouse directly depends on your relationship with the Lord.

He gives us His Word to guide, admonish, teach, comfort, and communicate everything we need to know in how best to love our spouse and build our marriage. In it, He calls us to:

  • Put our spouse’s (and others’) needs before our own (Philippians 2:3)

  • Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)

  • Forgive (If you struggle to forgive your spouse, read THIS)

  • Live out the fruit of the Spirit day in and day out (Galatians 5:22-25)

  • Leave a legacy (Want to learn more about how to leave a lasting, godly legacy? Check THIS out)

Second: Love your spouse with a covenant love, not conditional love.

How? Through love in action. God knows that some days we’ll wake up and have zero romantic feelings for our spouse; that’s why our love can’t be based on feelings.

Dreams don’t come true just because we want them to. They take work, effort, and intentionality.

Feelings are fickle; they come and go (just like a lot of those aforementioned dreams). But love in action always fulfills the dream we have for our marriage.

And God is so understanding; He knows us and our weaknesses, so He doesn’t ask us to muster up the passion, strength, and positive attitude to love our spouse in our own strength. Instead, He provides us with the kind of endless, unconditional love He wants us to pour out onto others. He gives us His Holy Spirit- dwelling in us- to be our helper and comforter, so that we can help and comfort our spouse.


We also put love in action by whole-heartedly fulfilling our God-given role.

In God's design for Biblical marriage, husbands love and lead their wives, and wives help, love, respect, and submit to their husbands.

Don’t panic. I know the weight and connotations that come with words like “lead” and “submit.” But God created each of us, therefore our Creator knows and understands how we best operate in relationship with one another in order to glorify Him and love each other.

Take time to read How Fulfilling Your Role Can Change Your Marriage and dig deeper into what God calls you to as husband or wife.


Vow to Change: An Encouraging Call to Action

Dreams and purpose: they’re not always in competition with one another. Sometimes they align; especially when you’re seeking the Lord’s will.

Here’s the true test:

Do your dreams conform you to the image of Christ?

Bring them before God, ask Him: Lord, which of my dreams do not conform me to Your image? Please show me what dreams You’d like to take and change. Help me to surrender.

Knowing and living your God-given purpose will ALWAYS conform you to the image of Christ.

So, here’s how to stay focused on God’s purposes for your marriage:

  • Write down and put on display in your home Mark 12:30-31, And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Commit this to memory and let it drive your actions.

  • Review and understand God’s purposes often. Reread this post and others I’ve tagged within it.

  • Pray: Lord, how can I glorify You and not myself? Please show me where I’m off track. Give me a new calling, and/or remind me of the calling you’ve already given me. Please reveal the talents You’ve placed within me to build and strengthen our marriage into one that glorifies YOU, not us. Lord, thank you for making Your purpose for marriage clear, and for including me in Your plan to love my spouse with Christ-like love. Thank You for providing all I need to fulfill Your purposes. I love You and trust Your ways. Amen.

  • Write down specific actions to which God has called you in loving your spouse. Support them with Scripture and put them in action. Frequently review/update your list.

One of the beautiful things about following God’s calling for your life is that He plants new dreams in your heart as you pursue His calling; new dreams that emerge from being on mission for Him.

It’s the epitome of Psalm 37:4-5, Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.

This doesn’t mean if we love God, He’ll give us what we want. It means if we delight ourselves in His purposes- in the entirety of who He is- He will write HIS desires on our hearts.

Why? Because…

He created us, He loves us, and HE knows what is best for us. So, let’s trust HIS calling on our lives and marriages today and always.


Listen to this post's corresponding podcast:



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