Marriage Isn’t For You: A Response


It’s possible that you’ve already read Seth Adams Smith’s blog post, Marriage Isn’t For You. I cannot look down my Facebook feed without seeing someone “liking” it or commenting on it. I think he gets it wrong.

To be fair, there is a lot that he gets right. Marriage is not the place to be selfish. Marriage is about caring, honoring, and cherishing the person we marry. I love his conversation with his dad from the post. There are some positive things here- but from a Christian perspective on marriage- I think this post needs to go farther.

The Goal of Marriage is Not Making the Other Person Happy: This sounds shocking a maybe counter-intuitive. The goal and point of marriage is bringing glory and honor to God. Christian marriage, just like our personal faith, is about loving and honoring God with our life. Our marriage should be a reflection of God’s unconditional, unrelenting, never-ending love for the world. The reason we practice mutual submission in marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33) is not just to make our spouse happy- it’s because Jesus submitted to death on the cross to show us love. We honor God by practicing the same love in our marriage. When people see our marriage, when they see the way we love our spouse, it should point them to the love of God, the Groomsman waiting for his bride- the Church.

Here is what happens when marriage is about glorifying and honoring God: Rather than happiness- we find joy. Happiness is contingent on external circumstances (how I feel). Happiness is an emotion. Joy is a state of being. Joy is deeper because it is centered upon Who God Is and What God Has Done for us through Jesus. That is why we can have joy/give praise in difficult situations- this is why we can have joy in the midst of mourning- because our joy is found in the Lord.

When a husband and a wife can view their marriage as a way to honor and glorify God- there will be happiness, there will be a real sense of not being selfish in marriage. But the deepest result will be joy. Joy found in God is what helps us through the difficult times in our marriages and sustains us to work in love to grow our marriage.

Here is our approach heading into our marriage: Andrea and I believe that to have a successful Christ-centered marriage means you run the race that God has called you to run with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. As you run that race, look around to see who is running with you. Who has a similar call? Who can you partner with in honoring and glorifying God? When you find that person, you begin to discern and see if a life-long commitment to marriage is what you are called to. It’s in serving God, honoring God together that we find joy in our marriage (and ultimately this becomes satisfying and brings a lot of happiness). It is honoring God that leads us to care for one another for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. It’s our relationship with God that calls me to lay down my own desires/will and not be selfish in marriage (not saying I do that well!).

Marriage isn’t for you- and that is correct. Marriage is about honoring God through the marriage relationship and through the formation of a new family.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor of Orchard Church in Magnolia, Delaware. Elder in the Pen-Del Conference.
This entry was posted in In The News, Marriage and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Marriage Isn’t For You: A Response

  1. Pingback: The Young and Restless Catholic | Marriage IS for me

  2. jennifer says:

    He doesn’t ” have it wrong” you just have a different opinion. As does he.. which you both chose to share with the world. Yours is derived by religion. . His is derived by family. Strong Christians don’t pass judgements on others… he was sharing an experience. You sound like your selling Christianity.

    • Jennifer- thanks for your reply and feedback. It’s appreciated. I think when I wrote, he “had it wrong” in regards to marriage- it comes from my experience in meeting with couples in crisis- where one or the other tried to “make the other happy” as Seth Adams Smith advocated- but where the marriage deteriorated. Marriage takes more than trying to make the other person happy. The goal of making the other person happy is not enough. I might push back with your notion that I was selling Christianity…I was advocating a Christian view of marriage where marriage is two people finding lifelong joy together by glorifying God by the way they live their lives and form their family. It’s the joy found through a growing vibrant faith that creates a marriage filled with joy that is able to sustain a couple through the good and bad times in marriage.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  3. Christine says:

    I have to agree with Jennifer: He doesn’t necessarily “have it wrong”. I also agree with you that he could have gone farther; but that comes with my own (recently acquired, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit) experience with the Bible and my growing relationship with Christ. His sentiments were perfect for what he was trying to get across. “Marriage is about thinking of someone other than yourself”. When I read his article I left feeling settled, like I’d read something to add to my Christian experience. After reading yours, which I completely agree with, don’t get me wrong, I felt like I’d stepped back a few places. I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though he may have missed what those who have a strong biblical knowledge know to be truth, he hit the nail on the head in being like Christ, where you have the knowledge, but your intent came across as a “gotcha” you got it wrong. Hope this comes across in the way that it was intended.

    • Christine,

      Thank you for your comments! And congratulations on your growing relationship with Christ.

      I wrestled with the “he got it wrong” and “he could have gone farther.” At this point, I’ll own what I wrote. It wasn’t intended as a “gotcha.”

      Marriage is a beautiful thing- especially a Christ-centered marriage. Galatians 5:21-33 gives us this basis of submitting to each other (perhaps making each other happy as Seth Adams Smith says) out of our reverence for God (which is the central point I attempted to write about).

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. Blessings on your journey!

  4. Angela says:

    I really appreciate what you’ve written. I’m currently wrestling with this exact thing. Figuring out my position in my marriage. It’s an eye opener to see how I am really missing the mark. My mom told me to re-read 1 Peter 3 yesterday after I called her crying about how my husband is failing me. I’ve read it many times but in our current situation of being down right ANGRY with my husband for his lack of effort in making me “happy”, it hit to the core. What has been a really awful week with my husband turned a 180 yesterday because I chose to do right by God and be kind to my husband regardless of his affection towards me. And surprise, surprise, it was returned. So yesterday was a good day.
    I feel like what you wrote was not a response to what Seth wrote. More of a deeper explanation. His blog post was a bit surfacy. I feel like yours was the meat and potatoes. So thank you for that.
    I will re read this post a few times to make it really sink in. I needed the reminder.

  5. Aaron says:

    When we honor our significant other i.e., making them happy, serving them etc., we are honoring God. So you both have it right. Sorry neither of these bloggers has a full comprehensive grasp on marriage, both are fallible as they are human and both have great insight. however one is not more right than the other.

  6. Pingback: The Jerry Maguire Marriage Myth | Exiled Community

  7. Pingback: Why saying “marriage isn’t for you” is naive - Converge

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