Eric has faithfully sharpened me. At times, I wanted him to stop and leave me alone; but, he kept right on sharpening! This verse does not speak specifically about marriage, but about relationships in general. Good friends can sharpen us. Family can sharpen us. Anyone with whom we share a God-centered relationship – anyone who speaks the truth into our lives without reservation – sharpens us.
In college, some dorm mates of mine posted this verse on their door and it struck me. I have appreciated this short and simple phrase ever since. It shows the value of a Godly friend or companion. It reminds me that relationships, even difficult ones, can make us more like Christ. In fact, it is often the difficult ones that sanctify us the most!
And for me? My marriage has not been a walk in the park, but I am stronger because of it!
Marriage Provides Built In Accountability
Marriage brings us accountability whether we want it or not. Sometimes, I would just rather hide my sin from the world. It was easier to do when I was not connected heart and soul to another human. One day, in a moment of anger I called someone a rather derogatory name; and, even though the person could never have known, Eric knew. He was front and center for my “personal” tantrum. He immediately looked at me and said, “You need to repent.” My pride welled up in me. I had reason for being angry and I was not interested in having Eric point out my sin. I wanted to wallow!
Marriage Provides Someone with Whom We Can Confess Sins and Pray
Though Eric does confront my sinful behavior, he also lends an ear and provides a safe place for me to confess sins. He has prayed with me. He has been a faithful friend and a sounding board. Not all of the sharpening process is painful. Our relationship has given us a soft place to land in some trying times. Even though I know I will not always like his advice, I know he has my best interest at heart (and that is extremely comforting).
Marriage Provides Someone to Spur Us On to Greatness
What good is a dull knife? Have you ever tried to cut a tomato with one? It is aggravating, to say the least. The juice squirts out and you are left with a gloppy mess. But, when one knife sharpens another, suddenly the dull knife begins to fulfill its purpose again.
In times of depression or self-doubt, Eric’s faithful sharpening has allowed me to climb out of my ruts and rediscover my purpose. We cannot hide from our faults and fears too long in this house. Eric and I always have a pair of eyes watching everything we do.
It is both a blessing and frustration to have a live-in knife sharpener, and that is what your future spouse will be to (and can be for) you! It is hard to escape the expectation that marriage is supposed to be warm and comfortable all the time. Nope. Sometimes marriage is excruciating; but, being sharpened, refined, and sculpted into the likeness of Christ is painful. When your relationship hurts you someday, (or later today), think about what is happening to you on the inside. Is this pain helping you grow?
Post this verse on your bedroom wall when you marry. Let it be a constant reminder that the man or woman you love is not only a source of joy, but also an instrument of ongoing sanctification!
Do you consider yourself blessed when your relationship causes you pain?