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I’m excited to open up about my not-so-perfect marriage! Because seriously, who doesn’t have a little messiness in their marriage? How to make a messy marriage thrive is a work of love. I pray you’ll take a peek at my post about letting go of perfectionism in our marriages. And please reach out to someone if your marriage needs some healing.
I have the privilege of hanging out in living rooms, kitchens and cars of so many amazing women across my state as a Christian radio personality. I’ve received hundreds of prayer requests directly over the years, most of them asking for healing in their marriage. Sometimes it’s nice to know that we aren’t going through hard things alone!
Many ladies share that they feel unloved or overlooked by their spouses. We’ve all been there at one point or another, haven’t we?
But others share horrific tales of abuse they’ve endured behind closed doors from men who claim to follow Jesus. It breaks my heart.
DISCLAIMER: If you’re in an abusive marriage, stop reading and seek help immediately. Get yourself (and kids, if applicable) to safety! Call a local domestic abuse shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) to find a professional counselor near you.
The reality Is ALL marriages are messy. Some way more than others.
I feel honored and humbled as I hear stories from women, but always chuckle when they assume that I have a perfect marriage because I’m a ministry leader. So many of my ministry friends say they hear the same thing.
It’s an impossible expectation to measure up to! There are no perfect humans. Just sinners. That’s why we need Jesus and His perfection on the Cross.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Every human is a sinner. And for those of us who follow Jesus, by the grace of God, we get up each day and do the best we can to love the big and little people in our lives. We often mess up. And at some point, we may come to a place where we admit the need for professional help.
I don’t know if anyone will own marriage like a boss until we get to heaven. And the truth is, it won’t matter much by then. We’ll be with Jesus and all the refining work we’ve put into our marriages will be on the back burner as we take our place beside our heavenly Groom.
At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.Matthew 22:30 NIV
But in the meantime, why we are here on earth, we can work hard to make our messy marriages thrive. Here are 5 keys to help with that!
Key #1 of how to make a messy marriage thrive: be humble.
We aren’t in heaven yet! So, we need to humble ourselves under Christ’s authority, admit we are flawed, rely on God’s grace to love our spouse the way He desires us to love them and stop pushing each other’s buttons!
Is it just me, or does it seem like the person God gave us to do this life with often likes to push our buttons? Sometimes several times a day!
There are days when I think my spouse could win the Button Pusher of the Year Award. I’m sure he often feels the same way about me. Which is shocking, since I’m totally perfect. Just kidding!
Key # 2 of how to make a messy marriage thrive: ditch perfectionism
I’ve met a lot of people that tell me they have a perfect marriage. It pains me to hear them say that, because I believe it’s impossible. How can you have a perfect marriage when you’re a sinner married to another sinner? By definition sinners are flawed. Hello, that’s why we need Jesus!
I’ve also met many people who claim to have a healthy, messy and thriving marriage. I celebrate that reality with them! If you work hard to love each other and submit to God’s authority, a healthy marriage can exist between two imperfect sinners. It just takes a lot of hard work to get through all the messes we each bring to the table. But it’s worth the effort!How To Make A Messy Marriage Thrive! Because marriage is hard work, so work hard for your marriage! Click To Tweet
Marriage is hard work, so we need to work hard for our marriage!
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,Romans 3:23 NIV
Do you expect perfection from your spouse?
Growing up, my sister and I would often play with our Barbies and watch princess movies and talk about how someday we’d find our Prince Charming and he would be absolutely perfect!
Then we grew older and realized we were sold a bill of goods on this Charming fella. He doesn’t exist. Talk about putting pressure on the men in our lives to measure up to an impossible childhood standard! Those poor dudes don’t stand a chance when we start dating!
Key #3 of how to make a messy marriage thrive: accept your spouse for who they are.
I’d rather be married to a man who wants to spend time with me, admits his flaws, believes washing dishes is not beneath him and loves Jesus.
I’d rather be around someone who doesn’t exist as an unattainable image in my head but exists each day seeking God and living to glorify Him in our marriage.
It’s in our imperfections that we find the need for God’s goodness and grace and learn to rely upon our Savior and His perfection.
As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.Psalm 18:30 NIV
You don’t have to be perfect, neither does your spouse.
Key #4 of how to make a messy marriage thrive: don’t be afraid to seek counseling.
For many years my marriage was a disaster. Two broken humans came together with no clue what a healthy, Godly marriage looked like. We navigated our mess for 15 years before we finally sought professional counseling. The devastating loss of three beautiful children from a failed adoption finally forced me to seek professional counseling a few years ago. My husband joined me shortly thereafter and began his own healing journey.
We’ve processed a lot of childhood trauma and pain individually, as well as did some intensive marriage counseling together. We’ve learned how to communicate healthier, develop healthy boundaries and process our emotions in a God-honoring way. And yet, we still both fail at this miserably some days!
But we’ve taken some big steps toward healing from the abuse that’s occurred over the course of our marriage. We are both thankful for that!
There’s no shame in being open about your brokenness!
When I told my husband friends encouraged me to write some articles about our marriage, he encouraged me to be open about the messy state of our marriage. I can’t even tell you how much his words blessed me. We’d been hiding our pain and dysfunction for so long, that it was such a healing moment to come together and admit there’s no shame in being open about our brokenness.
I believe that for true healing in life and marriage to occur, we need to embrace authenticity and choose to rest in the loving arms of our Savior. Because God works in all things, including our messes!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28 NIV
Key #5 of how to help a messy marriage thrive: remember God uses ALL THINGS for His glory!
I want to encourage you today to let Prince Charming go and embrace your spouse for the flawed human being that they are. And if you are caught in the cycle of striving for your own perfection, release yourself from that burden. If you need counseling, be bold and start the process to embrace the healing that awaits you.
If you’re in a healthy marriage with another perfect flawed human, take time to seek out another woman in your life and as your relationship deepens, choose to speak life into her heart through the lessons you have learned in your own trials.
God uses ALL of it, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the crazy and the sane, for His glory. It’s a humbling thing to let God use our pain and brokenness to encourage others along this bumpy road of life. So don’t be shy. Seek help if you need it and open up to others about some of the messiness in your marriage.
Bring the darkness to the light and let Jesus do the rest!Embrace your beautiful, messy marriage and give God the glory! Read more about "How To Make A Messy Marriage Thrive!" Click To Tweet