Marriage and Manure

I’ve been thinking a lot about MARRIAGE, probably because of the emphasis on romance that is part of the holiday just past.

In theory, most of us are willing to admit that we have our faults. We will admit, as well, that our husband has his faults. This leads to the reasonable conclusion that there is no such thing as a PERFECT MARRIAGE.

Personally, I have noticed some faulty thinking on my part which does NOT contribute to happiness:

  • I am generally surprised and disappointed at instances of imperfection which occur. I want them to be fixed. NOW.
  • I tend to FOCUS on the imperfections and failings (of myself; of my husband), until they seemingly FILL my view of the marriage.

I was thinking today what a downer it must be for my husband that I get so sad when things are not PERFECT. I have been praying that the Lord would help me, through His Word (the Bible) and through the teaching of His Holy Spirit, to think about things properly.

I read something this afternoon from the titus2talk blog that really hit home. It puts into words the vague resolution that had been swirling around my heart and head. This portion of the post is my favorite, and is from a sermon by John Piper in a series entitled Marriage: Forgiving and Forbearing:

Picture your marriage as a grassy field. You enter it at the beginning full of hope and joy. You look out into the future and you see beautiful flowers and trees and rolling hills. And that beauty is what you see in each other. Your relationship is the field and flowers and the rolling hills. But before long, you begin to step in cow pies. Some seasons of your marriage they may seem to be everywhere. Late at night they are especially prevalent. These are the sins and flaws and idiosyncrasies and weaknesses and annoying habits in you and your spouse. You try to forgive them and endure them with grace.

But they have a way of dominating the relationship. It may not even be true, but it feels like that’s all there is—cow pies. I think the combination of forbearance and forgiveness leads to the creation of a compost pile. And here you begin to shovel the cow pies. You both look at each other and simply admit that there are a lot of cow pies. But you say to each other: You know, there is more to this relationship than cow pies. And we are losing sight of that because we keep focusing on these cow pies. Let’s throw them all in the compost pile. When we have to, we will go there and smell it and feel bad and deal with it the best we can. And then, we are going to walk away from that pile and set our eyes on the rest of field. We will pick some favorite paths and hills that we know are not strewn with cow pies. And we will be thankful for the part of field that is sweet.

Our hands may be dirty. And our backs make ache from all the shoveling. But one thing we know: We will not pitch our tent by the compost pile. We will only go there when we must. This is the gift of grace that we will give each other again and again and again—because we are chosen and holy and loved.

So, what do you think? Do you find this advice to be biblical and helpful, too?

One Response to “Marriage and Manure”

  1. I find it valuable, and true. My husband and I have dealt with some cow pies, surely, but we’ll never let ourselves consciously sit in it. I loved this post. It really got me thinking and made me thankful.