One of the main reasons messy marriages get messy is because of messy feelings.
When my husband, Gary, does something that hurts my feelings—I mean, really hurts my feelings—then my whole world can turn upside down in an instant. It’s like the man that I thought I loved, is now suddenly the man I can’t get far enough away from.
In retrospect, I don’t know whether it’s him I’m trying to get away from or the feeling—that icky, sinking, gut-wrenching feeling of rejection and pain.
Can you relate?
My mind plays games with me at times like that. What I think I want is to hurt him, to teach him a lesson, to (dare I say it) leave him. (I haven’t ever acted on that feeling, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel it.)
Even though, it might feel like I’m sinking down into quick-sand, God draws near to me. He reminds me of his love for me and whispers comforting words to my weary heart. But that’s not where God stops. He also whispers the truth into my mind. And the truth doesn’t always feel quite as warm and fuzzy.
This is the truth that He whispers . . .
“Love Gary like I love you.”
In that moment, I don’t want to hear those words. They seem as bitter as my husband’s actions have been.
But I know that I have a choice.
I can choose to let my feelings drown out God’s voice. I can choose to stay focused on my pain, desperately seeking my own relief.
Or . . .
I can do what I don’t want to do—deny myself and take up my cross . . .
And love like Jesus loves.
When I do that, I may not feel it immediately, but eventually I feel closer to Gary—like I’m learning to love him more. And as a double bonus (and God likes to doubly bless), my faith in Christ grows exponentially.
Have you faced messy feelings like these?
What do you do with them when you do?
Here’s the challenge I want to accept and hope that you accept too –
Realize and accept the reality that God is there with me and you in our pain, and is able to help us love our spouses like He loves me and you.