If we are relational to our core, fashioned in the image of the One who is Three, then it is in dynamic relationship that we participate in the unending Life of God. And among human relationships, there is none more brimming with the loving potential to both expose our “not yet” and to beckon us forward than marriage.
The book of Proverbs as a whole takes a view of marriage that remains proverbial to this day: there is nothing in the world worse than a bad marriage, and at the same time, nothing better than a good one.
Man, if we haven’t tasted that truth, for better and for worse.
As we reflect on our marriage and on the stories others have shared with us, we hear Love’s offer that pain need not be the final word. Rather, we are finding that the pain in our marriage is becoming a spiritual trailhead of sorts, inaugurating a journey to increasing expanses of goodness and life.
“You are a rare couple. You are choosing not to just phone in some prescription and call it good enough.”
These were the words that marriage counselor spoke into the lives of good friends of ours last week. When my buddy shared them with me yesterday, they became a mirror, causing me to inquire in my own soul—could the same words be spoken of my marriage? I was reminded of how much easier it is—at least in the short term—to settle, find some medication for the pain we experience in our marriage, and simply call it good enough. It is far riskier to let the pain be a teacher, guiding us to risk both the belief and the action toward choosing the more.
Our friends’ choice for more surfaces a question: Am I willing to forsake the shallow waters of good enough and set out into deeper waters where it is all frontier?
Seventeen years ago, having very little acquaintance with what it really meant, Cherie and I included the following poem by Sir Frances Drake on the final page of our wedding program.
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
when having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity;
and when in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, where storms will show your mastery, where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes, and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ.
Now, with a bit more experience, more pockets of pain, and yet a growing vision of the Goodness of Trinitarian Reality, we take hold of these words afresh, drawn forward by the promise that we do not go alone. There is one who offers His kind, competent—though unnerving—leadership if we are willing to follow.
Our need is great: there is much that is hindering love. We are in need of deeper submersion into the Life of the Trinity; we are in need of the continual exposure of our imposing blind spots; we are in need of deliverance from our vast entanglements with the narrow self-life and all the harm it brings to us and to our marriage.
Yet our hope is greater still: we want it all, the full portion of what is available between a man and a woman in marriage.
We want to uncover and experience all the treasure hidden in this mysterious union as two become one: all of the transformation, joy, co-creativity, ecstasy, play, intimacy, shared mission, and unending giving and receiving of love, honor, cherishing, and delight that is available.
In the spirit of a shared expedition, with joy and a healthy dose of trepidation, Cherie and I offer this series of Become Good Soil podcasts as we venture out toward the more in our marriage.
Together may we seek, ask, and knock unceasingly in order that as it is in the Trinity who is Love, it might be in us and between us and through us.
God, you have our yes.
And, friends, we invite you to set sail into deeper waters with us as we all risk believing there is more.
With all our hearts and hope,
Morgan and Cherie
Looking to go deeper into the mystery and possibility of the full portion in marriage? Consider these onramps to the Narrow Road.
Intimate Allies by Dan Allender
Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge
Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason