« 1.1 New Creation | Main | 1.3 Brooding »

1.2 Emptiness and Darkness

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was formless, empty and dark. This is actually where we start with our marriages. It may be that the period of emptiness was before you met your partner, maybe a time when you were lonely and looking for love, or perhaps when you just didn't think about it. Or maybe you have been married for a while and found that your marriage did not live up to your expectations. Perhaps you are feeling that your marriage is empty and dark right now. Maybe you are arguing or not talking to your partner, possibly feeling even more lonely than before you were married. Another possibility is that you are feeling everything is fine with your marriage but you partner is suffering and you are in the dark about your partner's feelings.

The darkness in us is most of all our self-centeredness. In the beginning of marriage and in the beginning of life we tend to see everything that helps us or pleases us as good and everything that hinders us or causes pain as bad. If someone says something critical of us we may see an unkind person telling lies, but when we criticize others in similar ways we see ourselves as speaking the truth to bring about a positive change. This is because our thinking is centered on ourselves. It’s not that we are consciously being negative toward others. It’s just that we all can see things from our own perspective much more clearly than we can from others, and often how patterns of behavior that helped us survive work against us when we are trying to have genuinely healthy relationships.

For example, when people fall in love, there is often a self-centered aspect to it. Falling in love feels good. It boosts our ego. It feels safe. It feels exciting. We are willing to do anything for the person who brings so much goodness into our lives. But often things change. The person who seemed so loving has interests and habits we weren’t aware of at first. The person who seemed safe now seems mundane, and the excitement now seems scary. The one we loved for being a free spirit now just seems irresponsible. This decay in the relationship happens because we begin thinking of what we want and need from our partner instead focusing on what we can give to our marriage

Regardless of where you are in your marriage, your potential is far beyond what you have realized up to this point. You have abilities and talents that you have not yet dis-covered or developed and there are things about your partner that you haven't yet learned. There are still large tracts of undiscovered country in your marriage. If you are feeling an emptiness and darkness, it may be the very space in which the Lord can create something new.