G.K. Chesterton is not as well known as the others we have cited this week, but he was a great writer of the 1900's. Consider the following quotation from Mr. Chesterton:
I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim
of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes
unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.
If you have been married very long, you have probably reached much the same conclusion. When we marry, we often think that we are "compatible." Our entire idea of marriage and romance appears, these days, to be based on compatibility. We have "eHarmony.com" and such businesses, promising to find us someone with whom we are compatible.
Whatever the usefulness of that current trend, the reality is that men and women are incompatible, as years and years of experience show us. Ultimately, the marriage of two people requires many changes and many times of discouragement. Sometimes, you reach a stage where you are certain that your marriage was a mistake and you are tempted to leave.
That is the point that matters. It is not a sin to think about divorce, but you have to survive such thoughts. You must, as Chesterton says, "fight through and survive" the moment when you are tempted to despair. The marriage that has not reached such a stage is still developing.
Marriage, we are told, is God's gift to us, that it models God's relationship with His people, that it is a source of joy and happiness. These are things we say at wedding ceremonies.
But, ultimately, marriage is about changing who you are and what you do in order to be one with a different person. Marriage is always about surrendering yourself to something greater than yourself, to sacrifice yourself.
The Moment of Incompatibility, that moment when you have to confront the fact that you have to be committed to your husband despite your own desires, that moment when you have to give up something important to you, is the key to the question of whether you love your husband.
The Excellent Wife lives a life committed to her family, not to herself, and thereby she makes her life greater than it could otherwise ever be.
You do not leave because you are incompatible, you stay because you are a Wife.