When Marriage isn't all Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice | Marvelous Mundane

Of all my posts, I feel this one deserves a few disclaimers. 1: My husband and I love each other very much. 2: I don't imagine to know the circumstances you are walking through. While every person is valuable, every relationship is different. Sometimes grace and truth bring people closer together, but sometimes embracing grace and truth leads to other hard choices. But whatever, wherever, however you are, I pray the love and power of Jesus brings strength and hope and comfort. 

“Would you have married me then, if you knew everything you know now?”, he asks, midway through a heated argument.

“Well maybe you shouldn’t have married me either!”, I spew back. “There were some bright red flags waving all over the place!”

Anger is written across our verbal ping-pong game, carried in the sharp-tipped word arrows flying back and forth across the room. Our tucked away histories, our not-so-hidden expectations, our never-dealt-with feelings, our barely-covered sins, they all come tumbling out as our emotions free our tongues.

We are almost ten years into this marriage journey. Ten years older than those dressed-up little kids walking down the aisle, out the glass-paned double doors and off to the unknown in that rusty, red car. Ten years of joys and challenges, frustrations and comfortable security. Ten years of finding marriage can bring the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

We’ve learned marriage is a soul reflector, clearer than any freshly scrubbed bathroom mirror. Life together has this way of exposing the unknown and unseen. It’s not just the unsaid, the held back, the hidden away: it’s also the things never realized or acknowledged. And it’s in this place of truth and vulnerability that the gospel of Jesus Christ coming and living and dying and rising speaks loud and clear.

The gospel speaks marvelous grace: we have been given everything we need in the life and death of Jesus.

The Gospel Pours Grace into our Marriage

Grace softens our interactions as it reminds us that we both desperately need the same Savior. There is no war to fight to crown a victor, no point so valuable it is worthy of sacrificing all decency, no prize to win through perfect performance. The war has been won, the point has been made, the prize has been awarded in Jesus. Because of grace, marriage is not a battlefield or performance hall, but part of the journey. A journey with our Savior, through our Savior, to our Savior. Together.

But this grace that comes with the gospel doesn’t mean covering truth or brushing aside reality. It’s not a grace of pretending, a grace of hiding, a grace of hypocrisy. Grace reminds us that love is not enabling sin (ours or theirs) or ignoring destruction. Rather, grace weaves love and hope through the hard to speak & difficult to acknowledge truth. In ourselves, our spouses, our relationship.

Grace offers an invitation to move forward together: moving toward being healthier people, cultivating a healthier relationship. Toward Jesus. And even if it seems the invitation is thrown to the wind, grace holds us tight. Because security is not found in the state of our marriage, but in the sacrifice of our Savior.

In this place of grace, words aren’t weapons of war, but tools of love. The gospel shows us what love is: heart-freeing hard truth bringing us to the life-saving glorious presence of Jesus.

In Jesus we find a hope that will never disappoint: the hope that the life of Christ in us is enough for the challenges of life around us. So we walk through hard moments, hard weeks, hard months, hanging on to hope. Not a hope that rests on the backs of another’s choices or the possibilities waiting in our relationship, but on the finished work and promised words of Jesus.

This extravagant grace of Jesus does not call us to live paralyzed or mute, fighting or festering. Rather, as we seek to walk wisely in the uncertainties of life, the unknowns of marriage, we walk with hearts already comforted and secured by the love and grace of Jesus. 

And this Grace reminds me that my greatest responsibility is not to manufacture some picture-perfect marriage, but to live here as everywhere else: as a redeemed soul, blood-bought and dearly loved by the Maker of heaven and earth. So when marriage isn’t all birthday cake and sugar cream roses, colorful balloons and dancing streamers, grace reminds us: Jesus is enough.