The video above is a real tearjerker. The first time I watched it, I thought it was simply a Hallmark-card-like take of a soldier’s wife who understood sacrifice, patriotism, and loss. I suppose it is a story about those things, but one thing that the soldier’s wife said landed like a dart in my heart …
"Billy was married to me all of his life, and I chose to be married to him all of my life."
The truth is, the woman in this story had only been married six weeks when her new husband shipped off to war. She never saw him again. Before they even celebrated their first anniversary, he was gone and she was left as a wife without a husband to hold, to be loved by, to build a life with.
It doesn’t sound like a very happy ending, but the soldier’s wife seems to have learned a lesson about marriage that we all need to know.
The goal of marriage isn’t to make us happy.
Sure, it’s possible to be happily married, but feeling happy isn’t the barometer we should use to decide if marriage is good. Did the soldier’s wife have a "happy" marriage? I would guess not, since the majority of her marriage was spent alone. But she was faithful. Perhaps she knows the truth that the Bible spells out in Ephesians 5:31–32.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
She faithfully loved one man her whole life even though he could not offer the same love in return. Does that portray Christ’s love for us, His Church? You betcha! She chose to keep her promise even when her husband failed to be able to keep his. Sound like a little like what Jesus did for us? Yes. It does.
In Lies Young Women Believe, Nancy and Dannah wrote about the mystery this way:
God did not design marriage to make you happy, but to glorify Himself. If you approach marriage in God’s timing and with a pure heart, it will likely prove to be one of the most wonderful experiences and gifts of your life. However, God’s ultimate purpose in marriage is not to make you happy. It is to glorify Himself.
When you look to a relationship with a guy to make you happy, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and potentially for disaster.
So … grab a box of Kleenexes, and watch that video one more time. This time ask yourself these questions:
- If you were the soldier’s wife, would you have waited faithfully for a lifetime?
- How do you think this story would be different if the wife looked to marriage to make her happy?
- When you think about your future marriage, are you more concerned with how it will make you happy or how it will make you holy?