I recognize that all marriages are not the same. We don’t all understand our connections in the ways that others do. I also know that some of us are a lot more in touch with or honest about the needy side of ourselves.
When I read the psalms of David and I see the honesty of his writings—the fear, the panic, the frustration, the anger, the longing, the need, the vulnerability—it’s often hard to imagine this guy as the fierce warrior that he surely was and the great leader of men that he proved himself to be. Yet that is what we see in the course of the Scriptures.
The way he spoke of God again and again as a refuge in a time of fear and distress… the way he wrote of God’s faithfulness to hear his cries… the way he was honest about the tears that poured forth in times of loss and sorrow… all portray a genuineness of emotion from this man that was, by all accounts, a very “manly” man—whatever that really means.
The relational realities that David’s psalms paint for us in the way he connected personally with God are the very kinds of things that God designed marriage to teach us. It’s a place of honest need and deep vulnerability. It’s a place of great intimacy and, at least by design, meant to be a place of true safety. It is where a husband and wife should hold one another with deep respect and unconditional love in such a way that they can rest in absolute confidence in the safety of this relationship.
I’ve had this great song by Andrew Peterson playing in my head the last few days. It is a reflection upon the deep connection from one of God’s greatest gifts in his life—his wife. This speaks to me so powerfully because I’ve been through some seasons of life in which life did not feel safe. In those seasons my marriage was truly the safe haven of my life. These words ring true:
So I run away home Yes I run away home to you
I have been through times when I had to just run home, be close to her, find peace in her presence that I simply could not find elsewhere.
But the thing that speaks so powerfully to me here is the chorus that seems to be a simple affirmation of the truth that he clings to—that I cling to—when feelings don’t seem reliable.
I believe in the love of the Father and I believe in the power of grace I believe that He brought us together and You are my one safe place
I’ve been through some seasons when this was the cry of my own heart to my beloved.
But that’s too much, isn’t it? It’s more weight on a relationship than it should have to bear. Sure it is… but I’ve noticed that my beloved and I seem to take turns having to be the strong one. And even then it is only by the grace of God and His presence within us that we can possibly endure it.
The song’s bridge acknowledges this issue:
Don't be scared, it's alright It's a weight you are not meant to shoulder But you bear so much light And it's brighter each day we get older And I know that you're broken too But you are a sacrament God has spoken through He's spoken through you
There is a line here I think we need to unpack. He sings, “But you are a sacrament.” A sacrament is, in essence, an experience of grace, a sort of holy-izing moment. Peterson is expressing what I believe is the very heart of God’s design for marriage.
When I first picked up Gary Thomas’ book, “Sacred Marriage,” I put it down immediately from the question on the cover: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” I hated that suggestion. But I immediately recognized the truth behind it.
God’s design is indeed to make us holy.
So I want to share this beautiful song full of gratefulness. It is a love song born not of sappy sentiment but of deep theological and emotional truth.
“My One Safe Place” by Andrew Peterson
If you need me, I’ll most likely be pretty close to my own Safe Place.
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