Michaelangelo is one of the most well known artists in history. One of his most incredible works is his sculpture of the Bible’s David. When asked how he achieved such a marvelous piece of work, he answered that it was actually pretty simple: He simply looked inside the block of marble, saw David there, and then chipped away at everything that wasn’t David.
Perhaps he is understating his work just a tad, but regardless, this was a special level of vision that Michelangelo brought to work that day. I think we could benefit if we brought a similar kind of vision to our marriages.
Often we look for spouses that will fulfill us, meet our needs, and help us reach our life goals. This is the cry of our culture: “Where is Mr./Mrs. Right?!” But what if that person doesn’t exist?
What if the purpose of marriage isn’t to fulfill you, but to change you? What if God isn’t calling you to be married so that you could be actualized and happy, but so that you could give your life to the task of serving another person that they may grow more and more into the image of Jesus? (Which will ultimately fulfill you and bring you joy, just not in the way you may have thought initially.)
Ephesians 5:25 teaches how men should treat their spouses: “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” But notice the next part of the verse: “ that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
This is profound and affects our entire understanding of marriage. The Lord doesn’t only tell us guys how to treat our wives, but he tells us toward what end to love them! As men we are supposed to follow the pattern of his love and the goal of his love: sanctification. In other words, God put us in our spouse’s life to help change her into the image of Christ, and on the other hand, he has given you/will give you a spouse to help change you into the image of Christ. This is the mission of marriage.
Therefore, married people: embrace the mission. Don’t become so fixated on the sin and faults in your spouse that you forget that God has put you in your partner’s life to change them. If you spend more time complaining about your partner’s sins than you do praying about it, or discussing it with them with truth and grace, you’ve lost sight of the mission.
Singles: adjust your perspective. You’re not looking for a statue of perfection, but something like a block of marble, someone who is willing to be chiseled by God and by their spouse into a statue to the glory of God. And remember – you need someone who is willing to devote his or her life to doing the same in you. Marriage is not about self-fulfillment as much as it is mutual self-denial.