perspective

Marriage in the Thick-Of-Things

I’ve been married to this guy for a long time.

John and Randi

I can honestly say that we now have the friendship that I thought we were having years ago. We weren’t. The friendship we have now came from stepping into the thick-of-things.

Our friendship is filled with moments of great connection and misfire. It’s real and we both like it.

After the early years of marriage are over some of us get in the thick-of-things. Our true selves are featured and the scent of decay begins to waft. Something is dying. I know this is not true for every marriage, but it’s been pretty accurate in describing mine. I didn’t recognize the smell of decay at first. Disappointment is a misleading symptom. But the stench was decay.

Something must die. Our pride, our selfishness, our ignorance….

  • Control
  • Impatience
  • Anger
  • Pretending
  • Addictions
  • Resentment
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Wrong perceptions
  • Laziness
  • Fear
  • Unwillingness to grow, accept, learn and communicate

Many of these things had to die in my marriage in order to find the friend I married.

This is where love becomes true. The thick-of-things is like a dense and dangerous forest. Ugliness gets exposed and we have to stop being shocked by this. Both people have to be willing to go in order to survive.

Forest

A word of encouragement for the weary soul who feels like they are losing the relationship battle.

LEARN. Learn is just a cool word that means: be willing and teachable.

  1. Be a student of God.
  2. Be a student of yourself.
  3. Be a student of your spouse.

When we smell decay, when we realize that this isn’t the marriage we envisioned, we become raw. Vulnerability is the kneading board of learning.

I don’t want to sound over simplistic. Issues are real, misunderstood and exhausting. Problems can be dangerous to body and soul. Some marriages end because there just doesn’t seem to be any other way.   In the thick-of-things every exit looks appealing. Going through is much harder than going around.

Also, I don’t want to pretend that if you do A-B-C everything will be great.

My marriage is not settled completely, but we’ve entered the thick-of-things enough times to know that it didn’t kill us. We discovered we could be a better us and by default, a better me.

Arm yourself with Godly people to pray and listen, counselors to help unravel, and the Holy Spirit to guide and keep you through it all. Prepare to change.  You do have to change. You don’t find yourself at the edge of the thick-of-things for no reason.  Something wasn’t working.

So let some thing’s die. I pray it’s not your marriage. I pray your find the friendship you thought you had from the start.

There’s a Hole in the Sky

There’s a hole in the sky today.

Hole In The Sky

Hole In The Sky

It caught me by surprise.   I didn’t know there could be holes in the sky but there it was.  Layers upon layers of condensed clouds rolling back and forth above me.  Ever so subtly a hole opened up.  If I wasn’t looking up I would have missed it.

Holes open up all over the place.  Just yesterday I saw on the news that a sink hole opened up on a paved road and a parked car fell in. My nieces husband had a new business opportunity open up. The ice on my driveway opened up… a little… this past weekend.

Things open up everywhere.

The question is, am I looking?

There was a mother who lived many many generations ago.  She lived in a time and place that doesn’t make sense to us today.  The manner of living, the regulations, the conditions would be foreign, barbaric, and even ignorant to us.  In her world she was a slave.  In her world she had virtually no control over her situation.

Although a slave, she was also a wife and mother.  She had people she loved and cared for.  But the days were dangerous and all slaves were required to end the life of any newborn boys born to them.  The slaves multiplied despite the unthinkable scenario and the ruler was frightened by them.

This mother found herself pregnant with her third child. Her predicament looked impossible.  Her heart agonized over the forced ruling.

But she saw a hole in the sky.

Something was opening up inside her.  A new idea, a new faith, a new hope and it changed they way she lived life, even in her impossible situation.

Somehow she hid the baby.  Of course it was a boy.  She managed to keep him safe and alive when all the other slave mothers couldn’t. The boy lived and ended up changing the world.

It began with this one woman who saw a “hole in the sky” of her life. When she thought she was in an unalterable situation, she looked up.

Where we look will often change what we think.  What we think will change what we believe.  What we believe will most certainly change what we do.  What we do always impacts somebody….good or bad.

So, where are we looking?

 

The woman in this story is the mother of Moses, Jacobed, as found in Exodus 2:1-10.

“It was just sitting there, exposed….”

There is a tree on the side of our home.  The other day I looked out my bedroom window to see a very large portion of the bark had been removed and was strewn all over the ground below.  It looked like a bear had climbed the tree and clawed the bark off.

My initial thought was some mysterious beetle had invaded the neighborhood.  You know, the kind that you hear about every so often on the news.  My mind went into a slight panic.

Oh no.  They will take over and systematically take trees one at a time.  The neighborhood will have to go into a quarantine. The neighbors will hate us and throw eggs at our house at night for allowing us to host these beetles if we don’t do something now! 

I was distressed. The tree looks naked and uncomfortable with all it’s “clothing” laying on the ground below.  It was just sitting there, exposed.  I found myself feeling sad for the tree and wondering what I was supposed to do.

There are things in life that come and rip off our “bark”.  

Exposing our inner self, making us sad and confused.

I’ve heard it said that when we undergo difficult situations or feel as if we are being tested, our true character is revealed.  If we host anger, bitterness, fear, anxiety, jealousy, doubt, selfishness or negativity, these traits come out front and center when we are under pressure.

Difficulty in our lives exposes our inner self in all its’ imperfection. Like a gold refinery, the impurities come to the surface to be removed under the intense heat.  Without the heat the flaws go undetected and we are left only a fraction of who we could be.

  • Perhaps the difficulty is a gift from the Master?  
  • Perhaps it is more than just a rough patch?  
  • Perhaps there is an invitation to become someone new, someone refreshed, someone better than who you are now?  
  • Perhaps the problem you are in gives as much as it takes?

Talking to my husband later in the day I discovered that he had seen a rather large wood pecker going to town on the tree the previous day. It had to remove the bark to get to what he was looking for. The tree did not have a deadly disease.  There were no beetles forging a hostile take over.  The neighbors wouldn’t be egging my house.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  Although the tree is getting beat up, new bark would grow, stronger bark, healthier bark.

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:25-26 (NIV)