The pendulum of our marriage oscillates and sometimes wobbles, but it is suspended from above and firmly attached. By God’s grace, it will not crash to the ground.

These are Noel Piper’s thoughts from the forward to her husband John Piper’s book, This Momentary Marriage. John Piper looks at marriage in view of eternity, as an earthly parable of the relationship between Christ and the church. In this sense, even though marriage is a lifetime commitment, it is momentary.

As a newlywed, the pendulum analogy is so encouraging and helpful to me. I’m often afraid whenever there are disagreements, when I think I’m not living up to some kind of ideal, or when I know that I’ve sinned. But our marriage is anchored in Christ. There will be highs and lows, the lows made lower because of sin. But thankfully, it’s not simply the strength of our affection holding us together. The Lord brought us together, and He holds us safe in the palm of His hand.

Marriage is for God’s glory and our sanctification. It’s not just for romance, pooled economic resources, 24-7 IT support, home-cooked meals, help changing  breaklights, or children, although these are blessings to enjoy. Even for “spiritual superstars” like John and Noel Piper, marriage is tough; there is a lot of joy but also a lot of self-sacrifice. Even if my husband and I had followed the “perfect” Christian method to dating/courtship, marriage would still be both beautiful and ugly, exhilarating and maddening, inspiring and tedious. I liked how the Pipers were open about their struggles, but they kept the focus of the book off themselves. Thinking about the bigger picture–eternity–is relevant to every married and single person and so inspiring and hopeful!