I am Mary Todd Lincoln. Maybe.

My wife and I have joined a non-church-sanctioned couple’s Bible study. Yeah, we’re rebels.

Our group formed about a month ago when a newly married couple at our church expressed an interest in getting a bunch of couples together to talk about marriage. They could have gone through the official church channels to make it an official thing, but then the curriculum would have to be approved by some kind of board and the whole thing could have been killed by bureaucracy. So instead, we’re holding it in the homes of couples within the group and keeping quiet about it on Sunday morning. (I’m hoping that no one at my church actually reads this blog, by the way)

It’s a bit like Fight Club in that way. Only it’s a Marriage Club. And everyone knows that fighting and marriage have nothing to do with each other. Right?

9780310291442We’re going through Gary Thomas’ DVD series, Sacred Marriage. Thomas asks the question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

My wife and I are set to lead the second session of the study, which focuses on the refining power of marriage.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863In the DVD, Thomas talks about Abraham Lincoln. In most polls, Lincoln is ranked pretty high on the list of best Presidents. At the same time, Mary Todd Lincoln scores consistently low among first ladies. So if we believe that God is in control of everything, why would he put such a great guy with such a terrible lady? Thomas suggests that God was preparing Honest Abe to keep a nation together by giving him a challenging wife and telling him to keep his marriage together. Good stuff.

It makes me think about my marriage and how my wife might be preparing me for something larger. If Lincoln’s contentious wife helped him stick with one of the bloodiest wars in history in order to keep the Union together, what does that mean for me?

464px-Mary_Todd_Lincoln2cropMy wife is no Mary Todd. Instead of being mean, cold, and crazy, she’s pretty darn great. She’s hardworking and kind, a great mom to our kids, and she’s smart as a whip. I think it’s possible that God is using her to teach me how to be more like my wife, but I think it’s more likely that I’m the Mary Todd of our marriage.

Chances are pretty good that God is using my terribleness to teach her how to be a great leader of some kind. Perhaps she’ll be able to diffuse World War 3 or something later on. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m a big fan of marriage and so far, I’m enjoying the Sacred Marriage study. My hope is that, even though I think I’ve got a pretty great marriage already, I can learn new ways to love my wife and to help both of us to be more holy.