How Total Depravity Helps Your Marriage

How Total Depravity Helps Your Marriage August 24, 2007

Last week, as you may know, I preached on Jacob. During my preparation, not surprisingly, I was taken once more to the glorious doctrines of grace—the so-called “TULIP.” Jacob is used in Romans as a supreme example of God’s free grace. This post is part of a mini-series highlighting quotes from others on each of these five points of Calvinism. It will also provide links to some old posts I wrote on Calvinism.

We begin the series with a quote from Jollyblogger that claims the doctrine of total depravity will help your marriage. Here is what David Wayne had to say:

These 20 years have gone by way too fast and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I won’t try to wax eloquent on keys to a happy marriage except to say that sound theology is the foundation for a sound marriage. I truly believe that if a married couple can grasp total depravity and grace then they are on a sound footing—they won’t need much extra advice. If we don’t grasp total depravity and grace, then all the marriage books and seminars in the world won’t mean a thing.

Total depravity is key because it reminds me that my wife is married to a sinnner, so I need to go easy on her—she’s got a tough life being married to me. It also reminds me that she is a sinner, so I don’t have to burden her with a load of expectations she can never meet. Grace reminds me that her performance is not the basis of my acceptance of her any more than my performance is the basis of God’s acceptance of me.

I won’t say that those two things are operative every day in our lives, as there are plenty of times when we act in un-graceful ways. But God is good and always brings us back and keeps us centered on grace.

As to how I feel about Mrs. Jolly, let me quote someone else. We have this wonderful older couple in our church named Martin and Peggy Smith who have been married for somewhere north of umpteen years. Martin says this of Peggy—”even when I’m mad at her, I’d still rather be with her than anyone else.” That’s how I feel about Mrs. Jolly; she is my wife, my lover, my confidant, my best friend, and there is no one I’d rather be with.

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