God wanted to show his great love for the church and He could have described His commitment using any word, but I find it telling that He chose the word “marriage”. The church is considered the bride of Christ. When we were kids, if a kid said they loved something another kid might tease, “If you love ______ so much, why don’t you marry it?” When I met this gal named Angie a long while ago I was inspired to commit my life to her and we were married in 1990.
If you love something you lean into it. If you commit your life to it, you marry it. This is how I think of art in my life. I am married to the arts… and I don’t believe in divorce. I was a child bride, so someone must have put a red dot on my forehead, or perhaps it was an arranged marriage by my Heavenly Father, but I can’t separate myself from art.
I thought about being married to the arts when I realized I had a life long commitment, it goes far beyond today. I know I’ll be an artist on my deathbed. Even if I can’t paint I’ll be an artist. That’s how I think of my spouse, it goes beyond today and hopefully forever.
An important thing to consider about marriage is that it continues even after the feelings for the spouse leave. In our 25 years of marriage the Beloved Mrs. TenNapel and I lost feelings for each other from time to time. We still knew we loved each other, but infatuation is exhausting and isn’t generally sustained forever. So with your thing. Your thing could be art, making video games, managing people, digging ditches and just because you lose feelings for it doesn’t mean it’s time for a divorce. Maybe it’s time for a break, maybe get some counseling or go on a retreat, but your commitment level is still there.
I have had a long marriage to the arts and it’s not going anywhere. We have been in love for a long time, perhaps even before I was born. We’ve had our fights, we’ve threatened divorce, but now the arts and I are an old couple and we fit each other like a glove. If I gave up on her in my 20s when it was much more difficult, we would never have known how sweet it is to be an artist today.