What’s the main difference between someone who’s messy and someone who keeps his or her house in order? (Aside from those who can afford a housekeeper!)
I think it’s that the organized or neat person is willing to face pain and do the hard work required to either avoid a mess or to clean it up.
I realize that to apply this metaphor to the way a marriage becomes messy is perhaps too simplistic, but I think it merits a closer look.
I know that from my perspective, the messes I’ve made in my marriage were and are a result of fear and/or anger.
My fear can be traced back to my lack of faith in God. When I boil this down, it simply indicates I often don’t want to risk facing pain. In other words, I don’t always believe that God will, or even can, protect me.
As far as my anger, this again can be traced right back to lack of faith in God. Somehow, I’ve come to believe that someone’s offense against me can disrupt God’s will or blessings in my life, so I become either frustrated or resentful toward that person.
To make matters worse, I often put off or avoid the hard work required to work through my resentments, seeking to forgive whoever has hurt me. Furthermore, I often put off or don’t do the hard work of communicating redemptively with my offender. Since forgiving and resolving conflict is hard, painful work, it has become painfully clear to me that I can not only be a wimp, but also a slug! (As in sluggard, not bug!)
In case you don’t already know, I’m not especially proud or happy to admit every dark and sinful aspect of my life—but I do it for a purpose. I hope that through this and other posts, you will recognize your own faults in your marriage—since even the best of us make marriage messes from time to time. And facing the truth of our messiness is one of the first steps toward mopping up the mess.
So if you are facing a marriage mess, ask yourself:
Are you afraid to face the pain of cleaning up your part of the mess?
Are you hesitant to do the hard work that cleaning up your marriage requires?
In future posts, I will be addressing just how I’m developing my faith, in an effort to fight my fears and anger; and also how I work daily to overcome my reluctance to do the hard work marriage requires. So stay tuned!