God desires His children to become like Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. God is so committed to sanctifying and making all of us who believe in Christ holy, He will use each and every circumstance for it.
Did you know that one of the most powerful tools that God uses to change each and every one of us and mold us into the likeness of Christ is our very own marriage? Yes, you read that right - God uses your spouse to change you.
How does God do that?
Truth be told, our respective spouses are God's greatest gift to us, second only to Christ Jesus. While God gave us life in and through Christ alone, He uses our spouses to help us live the life we were meant to live.
Don't believe me? Let me explain. I'll give you three points to help you understand what I mean.
1) A God-given mirror
Proverbs 27:17 tells us, "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend" (NKJV). This is so true.
Married men live with their wives for the rest of their lives. That's how God wanted it to be. And this doesn't mean simply living like roommates in a dorm; it means having constant companionship and relationship.
As a man and his wife live together, the real issues of their hearts show up. Habits, attitudes, and personalities are revealed to each other, and soon both the husband and the wife rub against each other like a knife to a sharpening stone.
In marriage, hearts are revealed and made plain. This is normal. God meant this to be a refining relationship. Only when a husband's and wife's issues surface can they deal with them.
2) A God-sized responsibility
Next, God uses marriage to teach us to take responsibility of our choices and to grow mature. We all have to pray and think about the choices we make because every decision will affect our God-given partners.
Husbands who aren't responsible and caring enough will have wives who nag and complain. Wives who aren't fun to be with and loving will have aloof, distant husbands who'd rather have time with the boys. Think about that.
When marital problems surface, God wants married couples to work them out together in faith, whether it's about their marriage relationship, their children, finances, or other things. That's how it should be.
3) A God-given joy
Lastly, God uses our marriage to show us how much He loves us. Consider this passage in Scripture:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
If we husbands think it's hard for us to love our wives (which of course isn't true), just realize how difficult it must be for Christ to love us! Yet, despite our flaws, Christ loved us still. He loved us so much while we were sinners (see Romans 5:8), enough to set us free through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.