12 years. Has it really been that long ago since the day we said “I do”?
My life today is far from what I saw as I stepped into married life that spring morning! 6 births, 2 miscarriages, family issues, job changes, health issues, and more “stuff”… well, we’ve had plenty of lessons in learning to live and work as a team through thick and thin.
There’s so much that’s tested the limits of our love… so much more that’s caused us both to really see the “messy” side of love.
To be honest, things got messy before we became man and wife…
I’ve read books on marriage before – some good, some not so good – but for the ones that the Lord really revealed His Word through, those were different. They were hard reads, but good reads.
I was eager to read them, only to discover quickly that maybe there’s always room to grow, there’s always a little more pride uncovered that needs to be set aside, there’s always a little more I need to show my husband/ less I need to focus on myself. And truly, I like getting my toes stepped on from time to time – it’s nice to know the Lord is still working on me!
I’m not sure – but either the Lord is testing me to see if I’m sincere in being a Godly wife, or the enemy fights a home focusing on the Lord full force, because it seems whenever I really try to be the wife God would have me be, things get messy. M.E.S.S.Y.
So in filling out the survey, I shared that sentiment somewhat when they asked about why I should review the book. I honestly didn’t think I would hear back from them, but was excited to receive a preview copy of “Messy Beautiful Love“. I jumped right into reading, and eagerly started being more intentional right away.
“So that’s how you kiss?”, said our daughter as she walked into the kitchen one night soon after her Daddy had gotten home.
Hmm… okay, I’m guilty… I’m usually trying to think about dinner, getting evening chores done, nurse a fussy baby, and more when he gets home. Stopping for a hug and kiss??? Apparently I haven’t done that very often lately if our daughter asked that question. How could I be expected to even have time to think about it?
So the graphic above? I was quickly shown how I’ve often tossed this man to the side – unintentionally. But as I started reading and being more intentional, this following graphic proved itself to be so true…
If there’s anything my husband needs, it’s me. He’s quiet. He doesn’t share his heart often (that is, he’s NOT me!).
Given those characteristics, I don’t usually hear or see anything other than what is screamed at me – “Mommy! He’s sitting in my chair!”, “They’re not cleaning their room!”, or “Oh NO! The baby’s in the toilet – AGAIN!”. Yeah… he kinda gets lost in things around here.
I don’t always notice the tiredness from his waking before the sun is up, all while saying up with his “night owl” wife as long as he can. I don’t see the burden he carries each day – working in the world, providing for our family financially and spiritually. I don’t know how he as a father handles all that pertains to our special needs daughter. And I don’t experience the longing he has for Godly men to disciple him, as he seeks the Lord in leading our family – it’s a lonely world out there for Godly men and fathers!
He’s not in the majority, but in the minority – with the world going the opposite direction. He needs to know I’m by his side, that he can trust his heart with me.
But as I stopped that night in the kitchen as our paths crossed, and took a minute for a hug and kiss, I could feel him just releasing all that was on his mind and soaking up our embrace. I could see in that moment how much he needs me to just stop and show him that he matters to me. Why is that so hard to do?
So life was great! I’m reading this Christian book on marriage and so far, things are getting better and better! We even had a mini date night when 4 of our 6 children spent the night away – then part of the next day to ourselves (with two little ones). Smiles all around!
Let’s see, I think it was just 3 days later (???) that voices are raised, tears are flowing, hearts feel crushed… yep, sounds about right.
In reality, that’s what marriage is – it’s not the hand holding, eye gazing, gentle kiss on your forehead kind of thing that you envision leading up to your union – it’s walking straight ahead into troubled waters and remembering to NEVER let go of the hand beside you in those tough times. They will come.
Part of it was just my hormones, but the basic idea was I was tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and had my feelings hurt by something – not even anything he did.
Him? He saw no reason at all for my attitude – you know, because men are logical and uh… he would say I wasn’t being logical. LOL! And 11:30 PM isn’t really the best time to talk about differences of opinion when your man gets up at 5:30 AM.
The next day, he sent a simple email asking how I was, and sharing how he was sad. Yes, even though I was fiery mad the night before, my heart softened tremendously to know that he really was sad, and he really did care.
It took about 2 days before we both felt safe to share our hearts on the matter. The Lord was gracious to give me a more gentle approach to sharing what had hurt me so deeply, and at the same time, allow him to not only see what I was saying, but actually want to address and correct the matter.
He shared that he didn’t know what to do, but asked me to pray for him. Y’all – this is the BEAUTIFUL part of marriage that God has been molding us into!
I can glorify God – not because I feel like I got my way – but because I see that God is working in both of our heart sand see his desire to follow what God would have for us. This wasn’t the case years ago… but by the grace of God, we both handle these mini “attacks” less fleshly now, and desire the Lord’s working in our lives.
But what about when things aren’t a bed of roses? What about when you stuck stuck by the thorns?
As Darlene shared how her life came crashing down one afternoon, I found myself dumbfounded as to the way the story continued on…
I read in awe how her husband displayed the picture of the Cross, of how Christ draws us back to Him and restores that which was lost. The above graphic reminds me of how my husband is the same way. how patient he has been with me over the years.
Have I been upset without cause? Most definitely not! But neither has he! There were times we both could’ve said enough was enough and felt justified to leave. Aside from both of us being Christians and knowing our marriage vow was before God, we might’ve been another divorce statistic. Once again, the book reveals how gracious the Lord’s lovingkindess is to us – and how that plays out into Christian marriage. Divorce has not been an option.
I could go on and on sharing little bits of how Darlene’s own story of Messy Beautiful Love relates to my own, but what I’m most encouraged by in her life is how she continually looks back to the Lord.
You might wonder why I’m sharing this post on Sonbeams, as this is a blog for teaching children, but that’s exactly what I’m sharing here. When my children look at me, my husband, and our marriage, I want them to see the Lord.
I want them to know when we have a tough time – we look to Him. I want to let them know when we’re upset – we turn it over to Him. I want to let them know when we’re hurt – we trust Him to comfort us. I want them to see the Biblical picture of marriage when they look at us.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes so far from the book, and then invite you to grab up a copy as the launch is now LIVE! OH!!! I almost forgot!!! Darlene is offering one of YOU a free copy of “Messy Beautiful Love”! Enter using the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.
“I’ve come to the understanding that submission runs deeper than merely stepping back so my husband can lead. It’s an act of yielding my life in submission to the Father who rewards those who seek Him. Regardless of who is balancing the checkbook or deciding on the color of drapes, we must remember that marriage is a testimony of God’s relationship to the world.When we honor our spouses, we bring glory to God.”
“Love Always Perseveres-
Remove the idea of divorce from your mind. Determine to work with your husband until you find a solution rather than walk away when the going gets tough. Leaving that door open is only setting yourself up for a failure.
Marriage is a covenant that reflects the union between Jesus Christ and the church. We have the assurance that He won’t turn His back on us.”