The other day, I read this in John Piper's marriage book - This Momentary Marriage - and found it encouraging and refocusing. I just thought I would share this picture with you today:
Picture your marriage as a grassy field. You enter it at the beginning full of hope and joy. You look out into the future, and you see beautiful flowers and trees and rolling hills. And that beauty is what you see in each other. Your relationship is the field and the flowers and the rolling hills. But before long, you begin to step in cow pies. Some seasons of your marriage they may seem to be everywhere. Late at night they are especially prevalent. These are the sins and flaws and idiosyncrasies and weaknesses and annoying habits in you and in your spouse. You try to forgive them and endure them with grace.
But they have a way of dominating the relationship. It may not even be true, but sometimes it feels like that's all there is - cow pies. Noel and I have come to believe that the combination of forbearance and forgiveness leads to the creation of a compost pile. That's where you shovel the cow pies.
You both look at each other and simply admit that there are a lot of cow pies. But you say to each other: 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 the 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 the field that is sweet.
Our hands may be dirty. And our backs may 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 a gift of grace that we will give each other again and again and again - because we are chosen and holy and loved. (p.59)
Your marriage may truly be difficult right now. Or you might just not like each other all that much right now. Maybe you're letting the daily frustrations overshadow the aspects of each other that you do truly appreciate and enjoy. Let's take a moment and refocus our minds on the truth. What about the husband that God gave you do you appreciate? Where has God gifted him? What joys have you shared together? How have you grown together?
All those things that are irritating and maddening and even hurtful will still be there. But knowing they aren't all there is can make it easier to press on in love.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
~ Colossians 3:12-13