marriage changes everything?

I was talking with a friend the other day about my concern that marriage and family pressures can cause us to forget our idealistic goals and convictions. I've seen this in other young couples that have started families quickly (and unexpectedly). The response I usually get from married folks when I express this concern is that marriage changes everything, that our own ideals should submit to the needs of the marriage, that keeping the marriage together is now what's most important.

Perhaps that is true if our ideals are simply our own plans or ambitions. And I can see that it is a good thing to set aside our own personal ambitions for the sake of someone else, to maintain and strengthen the marriage relationship.

But for Christians, our ideals should be those set before us by Jesus, our convictions the teachings we follow in obedience to him. So it doesn't make sense to talk about setting these aside for the sake of the marriage. And how could we ever say that the marriage is now what's most important? Marriage should not change our commitment to the "one thing needful," the devoted and single-minded attention to learning from Jesus and following his example day by day. In Heather's wedding vow she acknowledged this, promising to "gladly follow Jesus" with me as long as she lives.

The path is the same, the narrow path, the little-used path, following Jesus' radical abandonment to the will of his Father. "Not my will (or my wife's will, or anyone else's) but your will be done."