“Thankful #5: Today’s post didn’t come as naturally … After we had our lawn worked on today, I realized we didn’t have a working TV or internet…and found out after a phone call to the cable company that they couldn’t come out til Friday to fix the problem! That felt quite long to this ready-to-pop-preggo! So, first, I realized I am thankful for the amentities we have (esp in light of what many Easterners are going through). And second, thankful to read with my husband tonight instead of watching Monday Night Football. And third, thankful to find out the cable co. can come tomorrow afternoon.”
The book we read was Love and War: Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of by John and Stasi Eldredge. Jared and I both resonated with this concept I typed below about looking to each other (or other variables like children, work success, etc.) to fill us instead of God alone. I thought you would appreciate the insight as well.
Love and War, pgs 66-69
“The human heart has an infinite capacity for happiness and an unending need for love, because it is created for an infinite God who is unending love. The desperate turn is when we bring the aching abyss of our hearts to one another with the hope, the plea, “Make me happy. Fill this ache.” And often out of love we do try to make one another happy, and then we wonder why it never lasts.
It can’t be done.
You will kill youself trying.
We are broken people, with a famished craving in our hearts. We are fallen, all of us. It happened so long ago, back in the Garden of Eden, so early in our story that most of us don’t even realize it happened. But the effects of the Fall are something we live with every day, and it would be best for both of you if you understood what it has done to the soul of man and a woman.
Every woman now has an insatiable need for relationshp, one that can never be filled. It is an ache in her soul designed to drive her to God. Men instinctively know the bottomless well is there, and pull back. I don’t want to be engulfed by that. Besides, no matter how much I offer, it’ll never be enough. This is Eve’s sorrow. This is the break in her cup. She aches for intimacy, to be known, loved, and chosen. And it also explains her deepest fear–abandonment.
Men face a different sort of emptiness. We are forever frustrated in our ability to conquer life. That’s the “sweat of your brown…thorns and thistles thing.” (Genesis 3:17-18)
A man aches for affirmation, for validation, to know that he has come through. This also explains his deepest fear–failure.
Now, take these fears, brokenness, and this famished craving, throw them together into the same house and lock the door. What ensues is the pain, disappointment, and confusion most people describe as their marriage. But what did you expect? I mean, are you really surprised?
…Two broken cups cannot possibly fill one another. Happiness flows through us like water through a volleyball net…
The good news is, of course, you aren’t enough. You never, ever will be. This should come as a tremendous relief, actually. Oh, I thought it was just us. That somehow we’d missed the class on marital happiness and now we’re flunking the whole course. Nope, it is not just you. It is everyone. Knowing this allows you to take the report card away from your spouse. How your spouse is doing is not the verdict on you.
Let that sink in for a moment–how your spouse is doing is not the report card on you.
Your spouse’s unhappiness doesn’t mean you’re an “F” as a person, as a spouse. Your spouse’s unhappiness–and yours–means you both have a famished craving within you that only God can meet. As this begins to come clear to you, it will be an enormous relief that you cannot possibly make your spouse happy. “Of course you’re disappointed, dear. I understand completely. This isn’t my fault. Go to God.”
Now, we are not suggesting a swing off the other side of the cliff. We have a few friends whose deep pain in their marriage comes from the fact that their spouse is totally and utterly unreachable. “I don’t need a thing from you.” It has nothing to do with God. It is his or her style of relating: “I won’t let you get to me.” This kind of utter self-protection is the very antitheseis of love.
What we are saying is simply this: You have to have some place you can turn. For comfort. For understanding. For the healing of your brokenness. For love. To offer life, you must have life. And you can only get this from God.
“My soul finds rest in God alone” (Psalm 62:1).”