I threw the cup of orange juice across the kitchen. It felt good to do something, anything, to release all the surging anger and frustration. And I didn’t even mind cleaning the pulpy, sticky mess.
It felt soothing to know how to clean something. I knew how to wipe away this mess. And I liked seeing the mess disappear.
If only my marriage mess could be fixed with soap, water, and a handful of paper towels. If only.
I whispered, God, why does this have to be so hard?
Have you ever been there?
I think many of us have. Whether we’re in a really tough marriage or just in a rough patch, marriage can be messy. Hurtful. Lonely.
No one ever told me about this side of marriage before I donned the white dress and danced to MC Hammer at the reception.
But after 20 years of learning, growing, and pressing through the messes to see something beautiful form in the midst of it all, here’s what I know….
Jesus loves those in messy marriages.
He loves my husband and me in the midst of it all. Jesus doesn’t love the mess of hurt, isolation, and bitterness. Those are things He wants us to work on. But He never stops loving us.
Jesus loves me. And His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of me. The good parts of me. The broken parts of me. The ugly parts of me. The bitter parts of me. The loving parts of me. And even the part of me that throws orange juice.
Yes, He loves me.
And Jesus loves my husband, Art. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of my husband. The good parts of him. The broken parts of him. The ugly parts of him. The bitter parts of him. The loving parts of him. And even the part of him that looks at me like I’m crazy when I throw orange juice.
Since Jesus loves both of us, He’s the best source of help for our marriage.
I don’t say that without a deep awareness of how stinkin’ hard it is to go to Jesus when I’m mad as fire at my husband.
And I certainly don’t say it in naive simplicity. Gracious, I know some of you are facing marriage situations that rip your heart into a thousand pieces every day.
But still, I know Jesus is the best source of help.
Honest cries for help lifted up to Jesus will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 in the Message reminds us:
“Blessed is the [woman] who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers –
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through the droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season.”
So, how do I stick with Jesus? I proclaim I’m sticking with Jesus:
Jesus, I’m sticking with You.
I’m giving You what I don’t understand and what I can’t fix.
I’m giving You what I don’t like about me. I’m giving You what I don’t like about him. And I’m giving You what I don’t like about my marriage.
I’m listening for Your instruction. I’m positioning myself to go where I’ll hear Your Truth. To talk to others who love You and serve You. And to read wise instruction from good books and most importantly Your Book — the Bible.
And even if it kills me, I’m not throwing any orange juice today.
Jesus loves those in messy marriages. I should know. Though Art and I have a wonderful marriage now, we can still hit a rough patch every once in a while.
But you’ll be happy to know I haven’t thrown any orange juice across the kitchen lately.