Why Your Marriage Should Disrupt You

Some days, marriage is a challenge—and it’s supposed to be. Because the purpose of marriage, in part, is to change us. We’re meant to be healthier and happier and, I believe, holier at the end than we were at the beginning. That means that on your wedding day, you didn’t commit to each other as you are. You committed to walking alongside each other as you both grow over time into the best versions of yourselves, who you’re both designed to be. That only happens if we’re committed to each other’s growth instead of to each other’s status quo.

But outgrowing the status quo is uncomfortable. To do it, you have to admit that you’ve still got some growing to do. You have to accept that sacrifice is part of love. And you have to let your marriage do what it’s supposed to do: disrupt you. Here’s why.

Disruption compels us to listen.

How often in our searches for spouses did we try to find men whose company demanded nothing of us, who verbalized no negative observations of us, who voiced no unmet needs, and whose presence never produced conflict? Yes, conflict with a husband is disruptive. But it provides an opportunity to listen with humility when he expresses concerns. That means conflict provides an opportunity to become a better listener, who responds with love when your husband mentions an unmet expectation instead of responding defensively.

Disruption compels us to adapt.

Marriage can feel like a collision of worlds. Your daily routine changes by default when you add another human to it. In marriage, you’re presented with all of each other, but some parts of him are going to disrupt some parts of you. You don’t always want what he wants. He doesn’t always do what you hoped he would. You might cringe every time you watch how he loads the dishwasher. And yes, you can ask your husband to adjust his behavior in favor of your routine. But sometimes, love requires you to adapt to his presence. Your yes to your husband is a no to whatever doesn’t align with marriage. Your yes to considering each other’s needs and desires is a no to being inconsiderate.

Disruption compels us to grow.

If we are honest with ourselves, we all know we have room to grow, that we’re all still learning how to love each other well. And sometimes, our spouses will point out when we haven’t. It’s disruptive to learn that your spouse feels disappointed or hurt or neglected by you. But “…in your heart of hearts, you know that you are not perfect, that there are plenty of things about you that need to be changed, and that anyone who gets to know you up close and personal will want to change them,” wrote Timothy Keller in his book The Meaning of Marriage. That’s painful, but Keller added: “What if you expected marriage to be about helping each other grow out of your sins and flaws … ?” We would change in the best ways because of it—and that’s a good reason to let your marriage disrupt you.

How have you grown or changed since your wedding day?