Leithart: Marriage Exhortation

Dr. Peter Leithart is one of the wisest men I know.

“We always marry the wrong person.”  And if by chance you married the right person, “just give it some time and he or she will change” (Hauerwas).

We search the world for a partner to help us build a little kingdom where all our selfish dreams come to pass.  We want someone who will leave just as we are.  We want a spouse who adjusts without our having to make any adjustments.  We want the benefits of cohabitation while remaining essentially single.  We don’t want a husband or wife. We want to sit on the throne, and what we really want is a worshiper.

What we get instead is a spouse who prods and pokes and provokes and won’t let us be our old selves, those selves in whom we take so much delight and pride.  God doesn’t let us get away with our idolatry.  He didn’t design marriage for self-fulfillment, but to train you, slowly and painfully, to “love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married” (Hauerwas).

One way or the other, you are doing to die.  You can keep worshiping yourself and demand worship from your husband or wife, and that will be the death of your marriage.  Or you can kill your old self in faith that God will raise another self from the grave. Lent is for smashing idols.  To ensure a healthy marriage the first idol you have to smash is the one in the mirror.

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