Over the past couple of weeks I've been doing some cleaning around our house... especially in the kids' rooms. It seems to me that the rooms become even more of a mess when I start cleaning. You have to take everything out, sort through it all and then try to find a place for everything. Lots of times you find things under the bed too. Things that were hidden from view and forgotten... but then you drag them back out and have to go through all of that stuff too. Then there are the closets and dressers... filled with clothes they really don't need, and many that don't even fit anymore. As I look at the rooms I wonder what happened... it wasn't THIS messy when I started, but I continue on and eventually I see the results and can't wait to show my husband how great everything looks.
Marriage can be the same way.
November 28, 2011, was a changing point in our marriage. That will be a day that neither of us will forget. It was the day we realized how broken we were. It was the day we realized we needed to really work on our marriage. It was the day we pleaded with God, to ask for His grace and mercy as we began cleaning up our marriage.
What happens when you start working on your marriage... when you decide to clean up? Yep. It becomes a mess. Things are found that were once hidden out of view. Thoughts and actions that you've kept to yourself are brought to the table. Your mind swirls with all the chaos that you currently face. It all seems so overwhelming. But then you start to sort through everything. You realize that other commitments you've made (work, volunteering, etc) just aren't nearly as important as the commitment you made to your spouse the day you got married. You start to put things back where they belong... where God intended them to be.
God's design for marriage is perfect. And when we follow His design, things work. Everything has its place, and life feels more fulfilling.
Now, that doesn't mean that things will never get messy again. Just like you have to choose to keep a room clean, you must CHOOSE to make your marriage work... to put God at the center of your marriage and follow His design.
Of course, we all know that sometimes messes just happen. In my house, with four kids ten and under, a dog and the new addition of a Russian land tortoise, messes happen. When God created everything, He had a perfect design for marriage, but sin happened. Sin has caused us to pull away from God, and to pull away from our spouses. And as we work to clean up our marriages, sin (Satan) will try to make a mess of things.
When marriages are working correctly, they reflect the image of God.
While working on your marriage, expect those messes. Realize that sin is working against you to drive you apart so that God's image is decreased to those in the world around you. Remind yourself that your spouse is not your enemy. Work together and pray together. Show everyone what marriage is supposed to be. Let your marriage reflect the sparkling, clean, radiant and most awesome image of God!