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Wise words today from my friend, Guy Chmieleski. Growing up, I wonder if when he would hear people say, “You guys!” he would turn around and think everyone else in the crowd had his name?
Did I just make a dad joke?
Well, one thing I know for sure, no one has probably ever said, “Hey you Chmieleski’s!” because let’s be honest, I can’t even spell—let alone imagine—anyone saying that last name successfully.
Enough of my female rants, here’s a guy for you…
Have you ever heard the saying: “Marriage is God’s workshop for couples?” I can’t remember when I first heard this subtle little quip, but if it was before I was married, I’m quite sure that the weight of its truth was lost on me.
And if it came within the first few months, or even the first few years of my new marriage, the profundity of this truth was likely still lost on me. Marriage is God’s workshop.
At the risk of sounding like I’ve got things all figured out, let me confess that as I sit here typing these words in June of 2013, more than 13 years (and 5 kids) into my marriage, I’m still not sure that I fully grasp the depth and breadth of this reality – marriage is God’s workshop for couples.
What I can tell you, with some level of certainty, is that I was intentional to work hard and attempt to deal with the issues I knew to be mine – before I got married.
I thought my soon-to-be bride was getting a pretty good thing (although apparently not all that humble). I was learning a number of important lessons from my dating years that God seemed to be illuminating within my heart and mind during a year and a half time period of not dating – leading up to meeting my future bride.
And let’s be honest, nobody likes having a spotlight put upon those areas of their life that are underdeveloped, raw, neglected, or broken. For me, these were things like: how I communicated, my tendencies to avoid conflict (at all costs), my unwillingness to work through tough issues (instead of simply bailing out), and the sort.
If there was a silver lining to be found, it was that I was having the chance to tend to these issues – before getting married.
It wasn’t long into my new marriage, however, that I began to experience the hard, challenging reality of marriage as God’s workshop.
Of course, I didn’t know that’s what was happening at the time.
At the time, it felt like a growing number of my weaknesses, flaws, and personal failings were being exposed – not just to me, but to my new bride as well. I felt naked – and not in a good way – and feared that my new bride would not like what she was learning about me. As it turned out, I was not a finished product – refined in all ways and perfect for showing off to family and friends.
Instead, I was (and still am) a work in progress.
And that’s OK. (Or at least I’ve learned to be OK with that.)
And I’ve also come to learn that my sweet bride is a lot more understanding and accepting of my imperfections than I am. In fact, I think she kind of likes when God illuminates these areas in my life. Not because she likes to see my squirm, but because she knows it reminds me that I’m a work in progress – and so is everyone else.
This, of course, speaks to my (and your) overwhelming need for God’s grace in our lives. And for our need to extend that same grace to others – especially those closest to us.
Marrying my sweet Heather was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And over the course of the last 13+ years, God has revealed to me how He can use the gift of a spouse to shape us and mold us more and more into the likeness of Christ. That doesn’t mean that it will be an easy or enjoyable process. But it does mean that God has a lot more in store for us that we often imagine when we think about marriage.
I don’t know where you find yourself today, but let me encourage you to open yourself to the idea of marriage as God’s workshop for you and your mate – and trust that everyday, God wants to leave you better than He found you.
Married folk, do you believe your marriage is God’s workshop? How can you show grace to your significant other while you are “works in progress”?
Everyone else, what can you do to live intentionally as a “work in progress”?
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.