Over the years, I've been privileged to gather weekly with Scott, Michael and Lucas. At some point soon after we started gathering, I started to think of these guys in Trinitarian terms. This is a little weird, I know. In our first few weeks of meeting together Scott shared about fatherly concern, Michael shared about struggles as a son, and Lucas shared deeply about his joy in the Holy Spirit. So, I started thinking of them as the "Trinity." I'm a nerd.
Over the years, these men have helped me be a better husband. They've taught me more than I realize about marriage (mostly by example).
Marriage involves union
They taught me that marriage involves union. The Bible speaks of a husband and wife becoming "one flesh". Distinctions blurr in a way, but you also find your strengths and weaknesses standing out in sharper relief.
Scott talked about this a bit on Sunday and often shares about this when we're praying. Susan's illness impacts him deeply, deepest when he is at his husbandly best. He can no more ignore her illness than he can ignore an illness in his own body. The shallow comforts Christians offer to the sick and suffering prove unavailable when one is deeply united to the person in need.
Scott can't ignore Susan's illness, but that's almost immaterial, as that's not his desire. He loves Susan and is united to her and wouldn't change that for all the world. Scott and Michael and Lucas share over and over again that the deep union that we experience in marriage opens a way to a deep joy. Surely it must be with joy that Christ is united to his bride, the church.
Marriage shows your need for a Savior
These men follow Jesus so well: faithfully in the academy, in their families, in their Christian communities. I look up to them (and not just because they're taller). But over the years, they have over and over again shared how their marriages have helped them understand their need for a Savior.
One day, I came to the lunch frustrated with Amy. We had had a fight, she had not done something the way I wanted it done and I was angry. As I complained to my friends, Michael offered this gentle correction: "It's hard to see your strengths manifest themselves as weaknesses in your wife, to catch yourself saying 'I could have done that better' or 'Why doesn't she just do it the way I told her to?' But, when I catch myself saying things like that, I'm probably catching myself being prideful, being arrogant. Where do my strengths come from?"
Now, Michael's an economist-poet, so he probably said that more efficiently and beautifully than I just did, but it connected with me so deeply. Over and over again I catch myself forgetting my need for a Savior. It's so easy for Jesus' saving to slip to the back of my mind, but being married helps with this. How often have we been driven to prayer and to Jesus when our sin manifests itself in our marriages! And how great a Savior!
Marriage calls forth prayer
Week in and week out the "Trinity" gathers for prayer. They pray for their wives, for each other, for each other's wives and for a dozen other things. And I get to join them.
We do more than pray and, to be honest, prayer sometimes gets pushed to the corner of our get-togethers, the last-minute bowing of heads before rushing off into the tyranny of the urgent. But we pray. We pray when we're together and all throughout the week. And no one is more amazing at this than Lucas. He prays for his wife and his kids and his work. He gives thanks for his dog and prays with his vet. Lucas prays with us when we're struggling to love our wives. I'd love to follow him around and see how much time he spends praying. He'd probably say 'Not enough' and the rest of us would chuckle and secretly admire him.
Together, these men have helped me to pray. And I need their help. I'm united to Amy in marriage, but I'm a sinner in need of a Savior. On top of that, Amy - wonderful though she is - is a sinner in need of a Savior. How can this union survive without prayer? How can I pray without help? The deep prayer of married sinners nourishes my union with the Triune God.
Thank God for the "Trinity"!