Marriage can be messy. If you’re fairly new to it, you may be discouraged thinking something is wrong with yours. If you’ve been married for awhile, you may discouraged thinking this is all there is, and maybe even tempted to think you married the wrong person.
I have good news for you–Marriage is messy because this is how God intended it to be.
Wait, what? You heard me right. God uses the mess of relationship to forge in us a strength we wouldn’t find if everything always went our way.
Paul Tripp and Tim Lane have written a book titled, Relationships, A Mess Worth Making, that offers powerful wisdom to those who are in the middle of the mess.
We think things are going well only if we are getting along with others. But God says that it is also when we are not getting along with others that He is accomplishing His purposes! For example, if you quit at the first sign of fatigue when you exercise, you miss the chance to become more fit. Exercise after exhaustion is the most efficient and productive time for physical fitness. This is true of relationships as well. God has designed our relationships to function as both a diagnosis and a cure. When we are frustrated and ready to give up, God is at work, revealing the places where we have given in to a selfish agenda (the diagnosis). He then uses that new awareness to help us grow precisely where we have struggled (the cure).
Have you given into this mindset? Do you think you’re only doing well in your marriage if things are running smoothly? Have you missed the benefit there is in the relational struggles you’ve faced as a couple? The authors go on to explain why we buy into this lie…
We enter relationships for personal pleasure, self-actualization, and fun. We want low personal cost and high self-defined returns. But God wants high personal cost and high God-defined returns. And although we frequently disagree with God, His plan is better. Beneath all our conflict with others lies a deeper conflict between these two agendas: ours and God’s.
This isn’t an easy concept to accept because it requires an honest evaluation of what it is that motivates the way we love and treat our spouse.
If you find yourself often disappointed or even angry with your spouse over seemingly small things, there may be something deeper in your heart you’ve been missing. It may have nothing to do with what your spouse does or doesn’t do as much as it has with what’s in your heart.
Ephesians 4:17-32 is an excellent place to start as you seek God’s perspective on your relational mess. We shouldn’t be surprised by it, but rather thank God that we are seeing an area in need of being renewed by putting off the old man, and embracing the new. Take some time to read this portion of Scripture and pray for God’s help in honestly evaluating where you are in this process.
What messes do you regularly find yourselves in as a couple?
Join us tomorrow as we continue with more on this important topic.