" 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."
-John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
Today I celebrate five years of marriage with the Hubs. Five years! It seems like they have flown by, but how can't they with the purchase of a home, a beloved dog (may he rest in peace) and two children later? We've been quite busy these past few years, so it's quite a shock to be celebrating a milestone already. I'm blessed to be married to a handsome, funny, caring Christ follower.
But in all of this reflection on the goodness of marriage, I can't help but think about the biggest lesson I've learned in five years of marriage: Forgiveness and forbearance.
In five years, I've definitely learned that you can't change another person, no matter how hard you try. Hubs will never be perfect, and I've finally realized I'm not either! And can't I tell you that nothing brings out your imperfection more than adding another human being to your family system? I remember those hazy few months after my daughter was born. It was a tough time for our marriage. So tough, in fact, that we called on a couple we knew for some marriage advice.
That's where I first heard the above analogy. Yes, sometimes marriage can be like living next to a pile of poo, especially when you are in a physically and/or emotionally trying season. All you can see are your spouses' faults and his or hers refusal to *fix* them. And that stinks. Our friends acknowledged that for us when we came to them for counsel, but they also encouraged us to look at the good in our marriage. We were invited to see the positives in our life together as much as we could and to deal with the "cow pies" as they came along. But we didn't have to stay next to them.
I am so grateful to our friends for encouraging us in this way. I am also grateful that I got to read This Momentary Marriage in it's entirety this summer. It really encouraged me to see my marriage in a more eternal light as a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church to the world. That is no small order, and I'm sure I will spend the rest of my life with Hubs failing to show the glory of such a picture. We will probably deal with a lot more poo in the future! But because we are "chosen and holy and loved" by Christ, we will not wallow in it. Instead, we will strive to surrender to Christ and forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.
That, my friends, is also no small order. But today I am walking away from the compost pile and choosing to look towards the sweetness of our future together and remembering the grace of the past.
Happy 5 years, Hubs. I know this blog post is probably more sappy than you would like, but don't worry. Your card has at least one flatulence joke in it!