[Your spouse] seems so different from you, I know.That’s why it seems so difficult to love him or her. When you think on one level, she thinks on another. When you’re certain this perspective matters most, he brings in another angle entirely. And you ask yourself, “How can I possibly love someone who is so different from me?”
And yet consider, if you can ask this question with integrity, try asking yourself this one: How could you possibly love God? He is spirit, and you are encased in flesh and bones. He is eternal, and you are trapped in time. He is all holy, perfect, sinless, and you–like me–are steeped in sin.
It is far less of a leap for a man to love a woman or for a woman to love a man than it is for either of us to love God.
But I think marriage is more than that. I think marriage is designed to call us out of ourselves and learn to love the “different”. Put together in the closet situation imaginable–living side by side, sleeping in the same room, even, on occasion sharing our bodies with each other–we are forced to respect and appreciate someone who is so radically different.
We need to be called out of ourselves because, in truth, we are incomplete. God made us to find our fulfillment in him–the Totally Other. Marriage shows us that we are not all there is; it calls us to give way to another, but also to find joy, happiness, and even ecstasy in another…
Christianity involves believing certain things, to be sure, but its herald, its hallmark, its glory is not in merely ascribing to certain intellectual truths. The beauty of Christianity is in learning to love, and few life situations test that so radically as does a marriage.
Yes, it is difficult to love your spouse. But if you truly want to loved God, look right now at the ring on your left hand, commit yourself to exploring anew what that ring represents, and love passionately, crazily, enduringly the fleshly person who put it there.
Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, p. 50-51