This may grab your attention and it is absolutely meant to. Especially since it’s under the marriage category. Why on earth am I writing a blog post about getting dirty in marriage? The answer might be completely obvious to you or it may catch you completely off guard.
This is not a post about sex. And there went at least half of my male readers, and at the VERY least 25% of the women.
I know that I have only been married since July 2018 but I have been preparing for marriage for years. As most girls do I have dreamt of being a wife ever since I was a very young girl. I know a lot of girls dream about their actual wedding day more than their actual marriage but that was never me. My wedding, yes, I wanted to be special. But when I daydreamed of my husband it wasn’t about my wedding day. It was the “All American Dream” picture I had in my head. I thought about him coming home to me after a long day of him working and myself at home taking care of babies and getting kids to school and doing housework. I dreamt about marriage in the fairytale way that we all see in movies. We would be happy most of the time with little arguments ending with us slow dancing in the kitchen.
And then I entered into my teenage years where my ideas of marriage all began to change. Little did I know that the abusive relationship I was soon to enter into at the ripe young age of 17 would completely change my expectations in every way. Some of my expectations changed for the better and some for the worse. I had a new picture of marriage. I would always be trying to please my husband but never be able to. But I felt so good serving this idea of a man who I just knew would one day return it to me. One day because of my faithful love and service to him he would have a heart change. I knew it. I knew that giving myself to this man over and over again would make him love me how I loved him. I knew that sacrificing all of my dreams and self worth to benefit him would come back to me tenfold. That’s one thing I remember learning in church that the enemy had a way of manipulating and turning into bondage.
Both of these pictures of marriage have truths in them but both of them are amazingly broken as well. Marriage is not for you. Marriage isn’t even about the other person, really. Or it wasn’t meant to be. Marriage was meant to be a picture of the gospel for the world. Marriage was meant for God. It was meant to bring him glory and to show the gospel message to the world in a different way. I took on this view point when Zach and I decided to read “You and Me Forever” by Francis and Lisa Chan. If you haven’t read this and you are married or want to be married someday, it’s a must.
In chapter 3, “Learn To Fight Well”, They talk about humility. This is where the “Let’s Get Dirty” title of this post comes to play. If we want to portray an accurate picture of the gospel in our marriages we are going to have to get filthy. Covered in humility. I’m talking roll around in humility so that it gets in every crevice of your existence. Let’s take a look at Jesus, shall we? The King of Kings went as far as washing the disciples (his followers) feet. Christ humbled himself by coming to earth as a baby. And the biggest example of humility he gave us is when he went to the cross to die. He didn’t argue about why he shouldn’t be crucified. He didn’t complain that the disciples feet were stinky and wash them with a cringing face. He didn’t come to earth as an established man with a big education or bank account. No. He did everything in humility and sacrifice.
When we have an accurate picture of who Jesus was, we can love our spouse in the dirtiest way imaginable. We can and will get down on our hands and knees and scrub their dirty feet. We can and will submit to our husbands when we feel like they don’t deserve it. We can and will admit when we are wrong and they are right. We can and will stand up for our husbands (or wives) when someone comes against their character. These are all things Christ did for us as the church, as his bride. And He has called us to serve our spouse just like he served us.
Jesus makes it sound so easy though. We are just human, Jesus was Jesus. Of course he had the power to serve and be humble- But Christ gave us the SAME power to do exactly what He did when he gave us the Holy Spirit in his place. He’s talking to you just like he has been talking to me- It may sound something like this: “Dude, just take up your cross and serve your husband. I know he hasn’t done anything to serve you for the last 2 years but your feelings don’t change what I have said. You’re called to serve the ones who least deserve it. Just like I served you. You serve him whether or not you think he is worthy of your respect or service. You made this agreement with my Father when you married your spouse. I will honor you for honoring the covenant you made with me.”
This doesn’t really sound like what we want to hear. We would rather cling to the scriptures that talk about God’s justice and whatever words we can conjure up and manipulate to make ourselves look like the better spouse. BUT REMEMBER MARRIAGE IS NOT FOR YOU AND IT’S NOT FOR YOUR SPOUSE. It is for God. Every area of our lives is to be surrendered to the will of God, and God’s ultimate plan for the world is to bring himself glory. That’s the whole reason he created the world. He knew we would screw it all up so badly that ONLY He could come in and fix everything. SO it is with marriage.
My point for all of this is actually pretty simple. Shut up. Stop complaining about everything that isn’t being done for you. Stop whining about your situation. Quit looking at what you wish was happening or what you wish wasn’t happening. Look instead at yourself. Look and see what God could be changing in your heart and in your spirit about your marriage and your spouse. Look at your marriage as an opportunity for these 3 things. 1. An opportunity to learn humility through service. 2. An opportunity to understand how God loves us unconditionally. 3. An opportunity to share the gospel with others.
–Humility through service looks something like this: Regardless of what your husband has or hasn’t done for you lately, intentionally and purposefully do things that will make his day easier or bring him joy. Wake up early to pack him his favorite lunch. Fill his car with gas. Offer to pick up the kids from school so he can go grab coffee with a friend. Do one of the household chores for him that he normally takes care of. Have sex with him when he wants to, even if you don’t feel like it. ASK HIM if there is something you could take off his plate for him. He will probably tell you there isn’t, but just offering even makes a statement. Humility and service usually requires some sort of sacrifice on your end. I doubt Jesus seriously enjoyed washing the disciples feet, but he did it. I know I have heard a lot of women say they just don’t enjoy sex with their husbands anymore (different subject for a different time) but just because you don’t FEEL like doing something doesn’t mean you just agree with the feeling and make it your truth. We have to choose. We get to choose to serve our husband sacrificially and humbly like Christ loved us, or we choose not to.
–Understanding that God loves us unconditionally. This goes hand in hand with serving out of humility. Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” These two scriptures point to just how much God loves us and we are to love our spouse just the same. As we strive to love UNCONDITIONALLY like God does we will start to realize just how much God loves us. It is impossible to love as much as He does and when we stop focusing so hard on how “mistreated” we feel from our spouse and instead start focusing on how we can love like Jesus, we begin to realize we aren’t necessarily the most deserving of love either. We view ourselves how we really are. We are just as broken as our spouse. We are just as human. And we need all the same grace that they do.
–Lastly I mentioned this should be a picture of the gospel to others. The way this works is by opening your mouth at the right time and keeping it shut at the right time. QUIT TALKING TRASH ON YOUR SPOUSE. Whether or not what you are saying about your spouse is true, you don’t ever ever ever need to air your dirty laundry to social media OR to anyone. Yes, you should have a close friend you can share your feelings with but even this person should always be encouraging you in the previous suggestions that were made. Your “friend” who encourages your trash talking on your spouse is NOT your friend. Instead, start talking positively about your husband. As you begin to live this out things in your life will change. I cannot guarantee you that your marriage will change (although I would bet that it will) but YOU will and so will your relationship with God. At the end of the day your relationship with God is the most important and how you choose to love your spouse will speak the gospel message to believers and non believers alike. When the world sees you serving when your husband doesn’t deserve it, they will see Jesus. When they hear you speaking positive about him, they will see Jesus. When they see you sacrificing for him, they will see Jesus.
It all needs to go back to GETTING DIRTY. Really filthy stinking dirty. It may not be easy. It may not be comfortable. You won’t feel like doing it most days. It won’t make sense to other people. It won’t even make sense to you most of the time. But that’s what Christ did for you, and that’s what he calls us to do in our marriages every single day.