Marriage is supposed to be a side-by-side journey into the future, right?
What happens when one of the partners moves ahead at a quicker pace...or, from another point of view, when one of them lags behind?
One of the areas in which this often happens is, ironically, religious practice. One half of the marriage will suddenly catch fire, and see the hand and face of God in everything they touch. The world's suddenly redefined, and the language of the Bible becomes common currency around the house.
Sunday service is joined by Wednesday evening, and a couple of ministries.
The other spouse is usually at first dazzled by the meteoric flash of their other half. But then...
But then. It's easy to feel left behind, when this happens. Even a person of strong and placid faith may start to feel - and be made to feel - somehow lacking.
It can be one of the hardest trials of a marriage. Not because it'll end in divorce, but because the isolation the 'left behind' spouse can feel is a special kind of lonely. It's the lonely of being the only person in the room who didn't get the joke, the last kid picked for kickball, the only one without a date to the prom.
Is this what Jesus intended?
We can't control where our walk with God takes us, but we can make sure that our mate comes along for the ride.
- Explain to your mate what's happening, and what you are feeling and experiencing. "I can't describe it, it's so wonderful!" is an excuse. God wants you to understand His grace, and a test for your understanding is being able to explain it to someone else.
- Don't make large and sudden changes in your schedule. If the epiphany you experienced is real, the church and the ministries will still be there when you and your spouse arrive - on the same page - together.
- Never, ever use the words, "You just don't understand" if your spouse just doesn't understand. No comment will more quickly block progress, and kill cooperation. Put someone down, and why will they want to climb up to join you?
- Remember that your marriage is a sacrament, something like an earthly representation of what your relationship with the Almighty is supposed to be like. God will slow down and wait for you, and He'll never make you feel inferior for being slower than He is. Now it's your turn.
Just remember that the epiphany is not the cornerstone of your faith. Your work for God is done here, day by day through slow degrees.
With your mate at your side.