Give Me a Perfect Marriage or Give Me Death!

“If we refuse to move, physically, morally, or psychologically, short of perfection, we will not have what we can have.” – Francis Schaeffer

The highlight of my 2013 reading list (so far) has to be the book True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer. In this book, he talks about the various challenges that the Christian faces in his quest to be truly spiritual and live for Jesus in the everyday moments of his life. In Chapter 11: Substantial Healing of the Total Person, he  uses an insightful illustration about marriage. I thought I should share it with you. I found it quite helpful:

I am not to say, “I must be thus,” and if it is not thus, there is nothing but psychological despair. Some people are totally caught in this, but all of us have something of it within ourselves, swinging pendulum-like between conceit and despair. This is true not only in the psychological area, of course; it is true in all relationships of life. One does not have to have had much pastoral experience to have met married couples who refuse to have what they can have, because they have set for themselves a false standard of superiority.

They have set up a romanticism, either on the romantic side of love or the physical side, and if their marriage does not measure up to their own standards of superiority, they smash everything to the ground. They must have the ideal love affair of the century just because they are who they are! Certainly many of the multiple marriage and divorce situations turn upon just this point. One couple refuses to have less than what they have set as a romantic possibility, forgetting that the fall is the fall. Another may want sexual experience beyond what one can have in the midst of the results of the fall.

You suddenly see a marriage smashed – everything gone to bits, people walking away from each other, destroying something really possible and beautiful – simply because they have set a proud standard and refuse to have the good marriage they can have.

We wait for the resurrection of the body. We wait for the perfect application of the finished work of Christ for the whole man. We wait for this, but on this side of the fall, and before Christ comes, we must not insist on “perfection or nothing,” or we will end with the “nothing.”

There’s enough in there to munch on for weeks!


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