How much do you think deeply about the things that matter most? One thing required to think deeply is choosing to slow down. Thoughts are like timid animals–you must be still in order for them to make themselves fully known.
Today I am sitting on our couch thinking deeply about many things. One in particular is our commitment to marriage ministry, both online and in person. We carry this burden daily. It is our life’s focus to help marriages become all God intends them to be. People often look at us and get the wrong impression–thinking we just have a good marriage and that it’s been easy for us. You would be wrong. Not that our marriage isn’t good, but that it has always been easy. This is the greatest disadvantage of having an online presence. It gives a false sense of perfection if this is all you see.
How I would love to sit across the table from you at our local coffee shop and tell you stories of the struggle. Behind every struggle is a story of God’s faithfulness to grow and mature us, both individually and as a couple.
We have the privilege of getting to know married couples in our church through a 6 month community group that Tom leads. The couples commit to focus on their relationship for this specific amount of time and it has been quite fruitful. Especially for those couples who lean in with purpose and make the time to think deeply about where they are currently in their marriage and where they want to be.
One wife mentioned recently that she realized she had been comparing the fine print in her marriage to the highlights of all her friends’ marriages shared on Instagram and Facebook. It left her feeling discontent with what God had given her in her marriage and in her husband as well. This is not the way to live. We can’t compare our struggles with everyone else’s strengths! It’s like comparing apples to steak, two completely different types of food that are necessary to grow, but have different purposes.
Behind every positive post on social media, there is a lot of mess not shown. We do this all the time to make a photo look it’s best. We choose what to crop and what to keep. Take this photo for example…
I took this picture just now from my garden and it looks beautiful. It gives the impression that I am quite the gardener always pruning, weeding and fertilizing. But the following is what the garden really looks like at present…
Same photo, but the first was cropped to show only the good. Am I being deceptive in not showing the whole photo? Not intentionally.
This is what we do all the time on social media. Not necessarily because we want to hide the reality, but because we want to make much of the beauty. Think of what your friends share as “rejoicing with those who rejoice”. Realize there has been a lot of weeping if you were able to sit and talk with them at length as to how they got to where they are today.
Life is messy for all of us. Putting two people together to live under one roof who come from different backgrounds and traditions is also messy. We don’t have to highlight the messes on social media, but we must realize they are there, behind every beautiful shot captured. And the mess is what brings the beauty if you stay the course and push through it.
One Scripture that always makes me laugh is from Proverbs 14:4. It is written by King Solomon who was the wisest of all Kings to ever live.
Yes! Every marriage is going to have messes to deal with, but what you do with the mess makes all the difference. I’d much rather have the potential an ox provides than a clean manger. Wouldn’t you?
This is our third post for our National Marriage Week Challenge to post each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. #NationalMarriageWeek2019
I think this perhaps also can apply to earlier days of our marriage; we compare today to what we saw there. Sometimes the comparison’s valid, but things are as they must be.
Somtimes I think back to the day
of soft togetherness
and know it can’t be thus today
’cause cancer’s made a mess.
Each day is f fight for life,
breath is short and ragged
and the man seen by my wife
is wracked by pain, jagged.
She has to live in gentler places
so after, she’ll go on
unhaunted by the demon-faces
fought with failing brawn.
It’s all OK, can’t all have roses;
we merely get as God disposes.
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