In some ways, I don't think marriage differs that much from dating. Before you married people say, "That's not true!," see what I mean:
When I first began dating, I--like many other dreamy-eyed middle school girls--had a problem with idolizing the guys I was into. My thoughts were consumed with fantasies: what would we talk about the next day, would he ask me out, where would we go if he did, would he be my first kiss?
My first "long-term relationship" was plagued by an ongoing battle between devotion to God and devotion to my boyfriend. Though I definitely loved and served God, I pushed him to the wayside, knowing deep down that my boyfriend was the one thing I would hesitate--or maybe refuse--to give up if God asked.
So, as the story goes, I learned the hard way, and the boy fell out of my life, and I fell into God's arms. That was the first step toward a new understanding of his lordship over me (not to mention everything else).
My freshman year of college, my world was rocked when I met Chris, little knowing I would marry him not very long afterward. We went through many spiritual ups and downs together during our dating and engagement, and by the time things had settled down a bit, I concluded that I had man-idolatry out of my system, and that's why God was allowed me meet Chris and have the love story I always dreamed of.
Well, I found out, it doesn't actually work that way.
Dating, engagement, marriage - these things aren't the rewards for completely arriving at the place where we never depend on our significant other to fulfill needs and give peace where only God can.
Even now, there are days I feel a strong wave of emotion: I talk to Chris, I try to get his help. Sometimes we get frustrated with each other. Sometimes we sympathize and cry together. And many times, those things were what was appropriate and needed. However, I still find myself playing the middle school game: I'm running to him, asking him to do the impossible, while Father God--our "jealous" God--desires to be my all in all and to take perfect care of me.
Women: your future/now husband cannot give you the kind of love that will emotionally fulfill you at all times and in the all the right ways. Only God loves perfectly.
Men: you cannot fix all the problems in and for your future/now wife, even if she brings them to you with that expectation. Only God "fixes" perfectly. :)
How good is our God.