I've been evaluating some things recently. Namely - the concept of marriage. I suppose every individual enters into marriage with a truckload of ideals, assumptions, preconceived notions, and theories about how marriage should look and feel. And while we would all hope that most of those assumptions are based on the Word of God and our relationship with Him, the truth is that many of our ideals and notions come from previous experiences in this sinful world. We enter into our marriage contracts with baggage. Baggage that we chose as we made unwise decisions in our dating years. Baggage that was chosen for us as our parents made unwise decisions in our childhoods.
Relationships we have had. Relationships we have observed. Weddings. Affairs. Divorce. Sappy movies. Country music. All of these things serve as building blocks, that range from tiny pebbles to cornerstones, in the foundations of our ideals about love and marriage and Happily Ever After.
But what happens when we feel the floor trembling beneath our feet? What do we do when, suddenly, one of those cornerstones begins to crumble underfoot and all we can do is watch it slip away into oblivion? Do we finagle the other stones in such a manner that they replace what has been lost? Do we try to regain what has turned to dust beneath us? Or do we look for new footing - a new foundation - in the Word?
These have been my thoughts over the past few weeks as Hubby and I struggle to find our footing in the midst of this life-changing upheaval.
But last night, the Lord led me down a very vivid memory lane. He took me back five years ago, to our engagement, and then through our first year of marriage. He walked me through our financial problems and our infertility scares. He reminded me of the emotional struggles I had, and of the grace He gave my husband during those times. Over and over He showed me how faithful He has been to me... to us. And so, in recognition of the goodness of the Lord and His ability to be our only foundation when all earthly foundations crumble, here is a list of Lessons Learned in four years of marriage:
1. The one spice that improves every dish is Grace. Every conversation, every confrontation, every imperfection, every inadequacy, every part of our marriage needs a little (or a big) sprinkle of Grace. And where there are big mistakes and imperfections that threaten to sour the whole pot, add a whole cup of Grace. Seriously, you just can't put too much. But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Romans 5:20
2. Don't sweat the small stuff. Hubby and I have had our share of major struggles during the short four years we have been married. So we learned very early on that, if a towel doesn't get hung up or if the dished stay in the sink one night (or two or three), don't sweat it! There are much bigger things that will drain your time and energy; so why waste it all on little things like that?
3. Housework is design to make my life better, not more miserable. I lived most of our first three years in a housework pendulum swing. If company was coming over, our house would be spotless. Every candle lit, cookies in the oven, matching towels hanging in the bathroom, floors shiny, temperature perfect. But when I couldn't maintain that all the time, I would just give up completely. I was always amazed at how quickly our house would go from perfection to utter C.H.A.O.S. ("Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome" - flylady). But since January of this year, the Lord has been teaching me about making our house a home all the time. It never has to be perfect, but it always has to be livable. Sure there are dirty clothes in the hampers, and of course last night's supper dishes are still in the sink. But there is a large empty floor with room enough for me and my daughter to play. The sheets are clean and comfortable when hubby and I crawl into bed at night. We have clean clothes to wear and food on the dinner table. My house hasn't been "perfect" in almost a year, but our family is happier and more comfortable in our own home than we have ever been.
4. Hubby cannot complete me or meet my every need. And believing that he is called to fulfill my every need holds him to an impossible standard and sets him up for failure in my eyes - every time. But my Jesus can "meet all my needs according to His riches and glory." And when I turn to Him for fulfillment, I am able to look at my Hubby and see the amazing man that God has created just for me - the man designed, not to complete me, but to be my partner and my friend.
5. Laugh. A lot. Anything and everything is bearable when it's tempered with a little humor.
And on that note, allow me to end with a Joke Of The Day:
Confucius say: “Beans in sandy soil causes Dust in the Wind”