Most of us have probably said, “If I only knew then what I know now.” Oh, the heartache we could save ourselves if this were possible. Mistakes could be undone, friction avoided, and better decisions made. If we could effortlessly sail through marriage, with wisdom and knowledge set in place from the very start, we could be much happier and less tired out. I often feel foolish that I write about marriage almost every day, and yet my marriage is nowhere near perfect.
Here are three reasons why being nowhere near perfect is perfectly okay (and good!):
1. The process is beneficial
Recently, I told our marriage counselor about my dilemma of writing about marriage, yet not having a perfect marriage. He gave me such a great answer. He explained that a baseball player who can just naturally hit the ball over the fence, can’t easily help others learn how to bat well. It’s the guys who have practiced for hours on end, watched training videos, and have listened to their coaches, who can really help someone go through the process of one day hitting a home run. I have thought of that analogy many times since then, and it helps me to remember that the process of working through a marriage is beneficial, and might even minister to others.
2. It evokes community
We aren’t supposed to be walking this life all alone. It’s difficult to struggle in marriage and also feel isolated, isn’t it? Fellowship is part of the journey. Praying together, confessing sin, encouraging each other, and staying accountable helps not only individuals — but also marriages. It’s a beautiful picture of grace when Christians help each other through trying times. It can make very difficult situations a little easier to bear if we are bearing burdens together. Just knowing that somebody cares can make all the difference in someone’s life. We are the body of Christ, so we need to function as a community, and be there for each other. God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves — so reach out! And when someone reaches out to you, respond with kindness and compassion.
3. The Gospel is brought to life
We all fall short. Christians are not supposed to act or be perfect. Somehow this has been decided that if you are a Christian, and you fail, then that means you are a hypocrite. No, it means you are a sinner, who sins and desperately needs a Savior. It means that when we mess up, we run right to Jesus because He is the only one who can manage the sin in our heart. We can’t force it out, or make ourselves more holy. If we are trying to simply “Do good,” then we are being moralists, and not living the gospel. Rather than being religious and prideful, instead we should admit our flaws, believe that Jesus died in our place, and humbly accept the free gift of grace. When we view each other in light of the gospel, it’s easier to forgive and love. It reminds we do not transform ourselves, but only God has the power to do that work in our lives. It’s what God has done to reconcile us to Him. It frees us from shame and points us to the cross. The gospel is what we need each and every day as we walk out our marriages.
So next time you’re experiencing tremendous struggles in your marriage, remember that it’s not pointless. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because God is still at work.