Messy Marriages

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 @ 2:29 PM

Life can get messy at times. This is true of marriages as well. Though we often think of “messy” as a bad thing, it is often a reflection of reality. From the very beginning, things were messed up pretty quick. I call it the “Genesis Factor.” Not only was there the “passing of the fruit,” it was not long until the brothers were at odds too.

Too often, we want to give up on the messiness of our marriages because we think messiness is a bad thing, but in reality, it is a reflection of our imperfections, which does not indicate unhealthiness. Marital health is not determined by a lack of messiness but how the mess is managed.

What are the characteristics of a messy marriage?

  1. Anything where humans are involved

If you are involved, it is going to be messy. This does not mean we give up on working out differences or justifying dysfunctional behavior. It does mean that we have or will develop a system of communication and both agree to and will be held accountable to.

  1. The lack of perfection

If you are looking for the perfect marriage you will, at some point, be awakened to a sobering reality. You did not marry perfection and neither did they. Sometimes we focus so much on the imperfection of the other that it is all we see. Look for the good, anticipate inconsistencies, and embrace the imperfections as opportunities to love, learn, and grow together.

  1. Working together not imposing against

If you think you are the boss, you have already taken a step in the wrong direction. Jesus’ model was that of servanthood. Working together is about how you can serve the other. When both work together from this perspective, both feel served, loved, and appreciated

  1. Committed to a process

If you think doing it right only once takes care of things, you need to think again. Growing a marriage takes work, and it is the lack of understanding this where most couples become disillusioned (wondering if they had made the right decision).

Often, I compare this to a garden. A lot of effort goes into the preparation of the soil and planting the seeds. It seems like more effort is put into the preparation of a wedding than the cultivation of the marital garden afterwards. As in a garden, you can prepare things perfectly and plant the highest quality seeds, but if you do not take care of your garden afterwards, weeds and various bugs and insects can devour all your efforts. Some couples will often say, “We have just grown apart.” What has happened in many cases is that weeds have choked out the life of the marital plants that were to bear fruit and nutrition to the marriage. Weed your garden, or someone else will weed it for you!