Marriage starts out with grand vision – a shared way of seeing what you hope your future together will be. It is exciting and full of possibilities. But for many, marriage becomes filled with problems we never anticipated and for which we do not have the tools to navigate. Unanticipated problems throw us off course, and we don’t know how to reorient. Some couples lose sight of their destination, while others never had a clear vision in the first place.
Your marriage has a unique identity. Think of the way fingerprints are the physical attribute that help us understand how perfectly unique each person has been created. The tiny ridges, whorls, and valley patterns on a person’s finger are entirely distinct to that person. In fact, no two fingerprints have ever been found alike in billions of comparisons.
Similarly, each marriage also has an identity that cannot be replicated by any other couple. Before a couple gets married, they exist as two separate individuals. Their respective personas are entirely individual and unduplicated. When two people come together in marriage, they create a unique marriage print. Together you and your spouse can leave an imprint on the world in a way no other couple can.
It is the joint dedication to a greater vision – a vision that is realized through your marriage in a greater way than it could be realized individually. By identifying your unique marriage print and determining how to lean in and maximize it, you can leverage your marriage for meaning and impact.
Most couples have not taken time to consider God’s larger purpose for their marriage, but there’s great hope for your future if you can start here and now. When you buy into a shared vision, it is like pre-deciding a thousand decisions before they are ever made.
You may have a strong sense that there is a purpose for your marriage, but it hasn’t been revealed to you yet. Years ago my family (Joel) took a vacation to the mountains of Colorado. We arrived late at night and drove to our little cabin in a small town at the base of the mountains. It was dark when we arrived. The air was fresh, and the mood was calm. I had been told of the beauty of the region, but because it was dark, I wasn’t able to see it for myself. We went to bed, but when I got up the next morning and walked outside, my jaw dropped. The Rocky Mountains were on full display, spread out before us in full grandeur. The mountains were framed with clouds that brought new revelation to the color silver. It was breathtaking.
Though it had gone unseen the night before, that didn’t mean it was not present. But when what was present was revealed to me, I saw it all new. As the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 1:8–9, “With all wisdom and understanding, [God] made known [revealed] to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.”
Perhaps you want clarity on the purpose for your marriage but it feels unclear. Just like the mountains hidden in the night, you know God’s vision is there, but you just can’t see it yet. You want to know how to get a clear revelation of that vision.
The unique vision for your marriage will be revealed in prayer. In the Scriptures, each time vision was granted, it was given from God. A passage in Mark’s Gospel tells of a miracle Jesus performed. In Mark 8, Jesus pulls a blind man out of his routine and takes him outside the city. He puts mud on his eyes and touches him. The man experiences a miracle and gains his sight! But when Jesus asked him what he saw, the blind man responded in verse 24, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” He could see, but his sight was blurry.
This can be a theologically troubling passage for those who believe in the omnipotence and omniscience of Jesus. Why would Jesus ask the blind man what he saw if He is all-powerful and all-knowing? Jesus would often ask a question not so much to glean information as to impart revelation. Jesus forces the man to acknowledge the work of God on him but also to confront its lack of completion. He wanted him to come back for another touch. Jesus touched the man’s eyes again, and he received clear vision. “Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”
Some of you feel like God has touched your marriage. You’ve seen good moments in your marriage. You have a love for the other person. But you also have frustration. There is confusion. Does it often feels like you are pulling in opposite directions? Your vision is cloudy, and if you’re honest, God’s purpose for your marriage isn’t clear right now.
We suggest that God is not finished with the miracle yet. You have seen evidence that God is at work, even if it doesn’t make sense right now. Don’t give up on your spouse or yourself in this season. Keep asking God to give you clear sight. In Mark 8, grace happened in the first touch when Jesus put His hand on the man to lead him out of the city. Sight happened in the second touch. But vision didn’t come until the third touch! Don’t walk away from your marriage before God gives the final touch.
Grace prepares us in marriage. Sight gives faith to us in marriage. But vision launches us forward in marriage. Don’t stop short of God’s full and clear vision for your marriage. Don’t be satisfied with the attachment version of marriage. Ask God to reveal your marriage print. God is doing a completing work. Your invitation is to press into His presence until He grants revelation through prayer.
Mark Batterson is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen books, including The Circle Maker. He is the lead pastor of National Community Church, one of the most innovative and influential churches in America. He and his wife Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.