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Op-ed

What I am thankful for this year: The gift of marriage

'For Christians, marriage is the great incubator for sanctification'

iStock/Getty Images Plus/Nicolas TREZEGUET

Last Thanksgiving, I wrote about the certainty of hope. Never could I have imagined how relevant that message would be the following year. In 2020, we have experienced a pandemic, witnessed violent riots in the streets, and plowed through perhaps the most divisive political election in American history.

In light of COVID-19, lockdowns, and tribalistic divisions, it may become easy for our eternal perspective to become obscured and skewed toward nihilism. I am a Christian, after all, and so I place my hope in the coming restoration of creation, inaugurated by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God become human.

But this year I want to briefly write about what I am chiefly thankful for in our unpredictable year: marriage.

In July, I committed myself in covenant marriage to my wife, Savannah, a gentle and kind woman who has an enormous capacity for love, grace, empathy, mercy, and compassion.

What I quickly learned about marriage — and what I imagine most newly married people learn — is that I am way more selfish than I ever thought. In fact, prior to promising my life to another human, I did not have the ability to comprehend the extent of my self-centeredness.

Many people find such self-revelation deeply troubling or scandalous. But there is something profoundly beautiful about the forging fire of marriage. The marriage covenant is where we are fully known, yet fully loved; the place where we can be fully ourselves, without posturing, knowing our spouse has committed to us the same investment.

When two self-centered people come together before God in total commitment to one another, out the other end they come reflecting the beauty and love of the God who created them. For Christians, marriage is the great incubator for sanctification. It's the privilege of walking alongside someone for the rest of their life, witnessing, and perhaps even having a hand, in that person's transformation.

This year was difficult for most everyone. But in my corner of the world, I have been able to experience but a small taste of the gloriousness of marriage, and what it means to be truly selfless and loving. There is much more work to be done — but this is a gift for which I will always be thankful.

One last thing…
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