God Wants You to Give Up – Marital Tips from Paul Tripp

From blogger Justin Taylor

In the soon to be released,  What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, Paul Tripp tackles the subject of Marriage.  Crossway Publisher describes the book, “Marriage, according to Scripture, will always involve two flawed people living with each other in a fallen world. Yet, in pastor Paul Tripp's professional experience, the majority of couples enter marriage with unrealistic expectations, leaving them unprepared for the day-to-day realities of married life.  This unique book introduces a biblical and practical approach to those realities that is rooted in God's faithfulness and Scripture's teaching on sin and grace. ‘Spouses need to be reconciled to each other and to God on a daily basis,’ Tripp declares. ‘Since we're always sinners married to sinners, reconciliation isn't just the right response in moments of failure. It must be the lifestyle of any healthy marriage.’  What Did You Expect? presents six practical commitments that give shape and momentum to such a lifestyle. These commitments, which include honestly facing sin, weakness, and failure; willingness to change; and embodying Christ's love, will equip couples to develop a thriving, grace-based marriage in all circumstances and seasons of their relationship.”

Here’s a blurb from Tripp on “giving up” for the sake of your marriage:

God’s grace purposes to expose and free you from your bondage to you. His grace is meant to bring you to the end of yourself so that you willing finally begin to place your identity, your meaning and purpose, and your inner sense of well-being in him.

So he places you in a comprehensive relationship with another flawed person, and he places that relationship right in the middle of a very broken world.

To add to this, he designs circumstances for you that you would have never designed for yourself.

All this is meant to bring you to the end of yourself, because that is where true righteousness begins.

He wants you to give up.

He wants you to abandon your dream.

He wants you to face the futility of trying to manipulate the other person into your service.

He knows there is no life to be found in these things.

What does this practically mean?

It means the trouble that you face in your marriage is not an evidence of the failure of grace.

No, these troubles are grace.

They are tools God uses to pry us out of the stultifying confines of the kingdom of self so that we can be free to luxuriate in the big-sky glories of the kingdom of God.

This means that you and I will never understand our marriages and never be satisfied with them until we understand that marriage is not an end to itself.

No, the reality is that marriage has been designed by God to be a means to an end.

When you make it the end, bad things happen.

But when you begin to understand that it is a means to an end, then you begin to enjoy and see the value in things that you would not have been able to enjoy before.
~ Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (pp. 51-52)

Tripp doesn’t quote C.S. Lewis here, but Lewis often made a similar point about the difference between ultimate things and good things—between first things and secondary things—and knowing the difference. For example, in 1940 Lewis wrote:

[Sensual love] ceases to be a devil when it ceases to be a god.

So many things—nay every real thing—is good if only it will be humble and ordinate.

Or one of my favorite Lewis quotes:

When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.

Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God andinstead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all.

When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.
~ C. S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis (8 November, 1952)