January 10, 2013

when grace is needed for oneness

Photo credit | Brooke Collier Photo | October 2011
"Okay, let's talk."

We both know we need it.  Desperately.

After parties and celebrations of the holidays and messed up work schedules, we have missed our weekly connect nights.  I didn't realize how much the sanity of our marriage depended on these seemingly simple moments until we skipped them for three weeks.

I used to think that we were the weird ones.  That something was wrong with us.  Because our marriage takes work.  Because we are not always as loving or respectful as we should be.  Because we easily fall into the crazy cycle.  

When our first year of marriage that was more life change than I expected, I started talking about the battle that oneness sometimes is in marriage.  And in that, I learned that we were not the weird ones.   It turned out, my parents are the weird ones (or the blessed ones) (sorry Mom).  As I never ever saw them so much as raise their voices at each other, I thought our marriage was nearly doomed when we started butting heads only a short time after we said our vows.  It turns out, we are only fallen humans.

I believe that it is one of Satan's absolute number one goals to tear apart marriages.

The world is against us in every way.  Our pride is against us.  Our very flesh is against us.  

And these past three weeks we got caught up in it.  

A single look in his eye and I'm making assumptions about what he's thinking.  A slip in the tone of my voice and he takes something in a way I didn't intend.  (Or maybe I did.)  And the spiraling continues.  

But tonight we talk.  We must make it stop.  My frustrated heart wants to say, "forget it" and go drown my thoughts in a book or another episode of Downton Abbey where I can focus on anything but my own pride and selfishness.  But knowing that this would only be conceding to Satan and also knowing that I have never once walked away from a Wednesday night wishing I hadn't just spent time pursuing oneness with my husband, we talk.

We're honest.  Sometimes brutally.

We confess our sinful, selfish behavior.

We forgive.  Always.

I'll tell you what.  If there's anything our kids will know how to do well, it is apologize and forgive.

We pray.  Asking God for grace to cover our clear imperfections.  Asking for grace to make us a team once again.  Asking for extra doses of patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  

And so now I breathe easier.  The air is clear.  We look into each others eyes and hold each others hands and reassure that our love and commitment is forever.  We remember for the millionth time that we are on the same team.  And what a great team we make.  

When the blinders of the crazy cycle are off, it's not hard to recognize the blessing God's given me in my husband.  In the dedicated father of my children.  In the man with an unwavering passion for truth and the gospel.  In the man who I know will fight for me til death do us part.  

And I'm so grateful that we both understand grace.  That we both know that perfection isn't the goal, but more Christ.  More of Him in our lives and our marriage and our parenting.  If our marriage is a testimony to perfection, we've missed something.

So, Lord, in our brokenness, let our lives and our marriage be a testimony to your blood that was shed.  To grace.  

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