Messy Beautiful Love (Brokenness in marriage, a review, and a book giveaway!)

Messy Beautiful Love (Brokenness in marriage, a review, and a book giveaway!)

A look at our families: How brokenness affects those we love most

Week #2

Messy Beautiful Love

My “Prince Charming” list was never written out, but it was there, tucked away in my mind.

I edited it from time to time, of course, especially through college.

When Jarod professed his serious interest in me, I was stunned. I hadn’t seen that one coming. But when I did a mental review of my list, he came out pret-ty good.

There were dozens of awesome qualities in this guy that had already led me to consider him one of my best friends. It didn’t take me too long to make the shift from “brother floor R.A.” to “Prince Charming.” No, I didn’t check every single item off my list, but it was clear to me he was getting a higher percentage on my tests than anyone else I knew.

I’m guessing your story might be similar. Chances are good you married your husband not because he was perfect, but because when held up against your expectations and the other men you knew, you were actually impressed.

Are you still impressed?

I know… you didn’t know him as well as you do now. There were things you never saw back then. Your perspective was warped by infatuation.

That’s all probably true, because you married a sinner, a person more broken than you realized.

You’re probably a lot more broken than you realized back then too.

Darlene Schacht released a new book this month — Messy Beautiful Love. Her first chapter leaves me stunned and sobered as she lets us in on her worst secret — unfaithfulness to her Prince Charming. But then we get to see how a messy marriage is redeemed.  What a privilege to learn from her humility… from God’s grace.

My journal is full of practical applications from Darlene… but one of the best? Chapter Five:

“Appreciate him for who he truly is.”

We used to do that, didn’t we?

But what’s happened to us since we had kids?

Since he hasn’t agreed to be our housekeeper/chef/laundry folder?

Since we found out someone else’s husband takes his wife on weekly dates?

Someone else’s husband is willing to remodel the house or even “just” tuck the kids in with a prayer each night?

Has he really changed? Maybe.

But the better question might be, are we making unfair comparisons? Holding unrealistically high expectations?

Darlene talks about an Ikea shelf she wanted her husband to hang in the kitchen.

“Would I love my husband any more than I do right now if he hung up that rack today? Or could it be that I’d be too busy thinking about the next project and watching what others are doing to realize the blessing he is?

She continues…

Jealousy and comparison are dangerous things that can creep up unnoticed in any area of life, including marriage. They bring on stress and a feeling of inadequacy and take our eyes off our Father’s will for us. That’s why it’s so important to always keep them in check.

Today it might be a small thing like a rack in the kitchen, but what will it be tomorrow?

The Lord cautions us: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Ex. 20:17 NIV). We are warned against coveting for a reason. It’s sinful, and it’s consuming. It’s the polar opposite of contentment and leads us to look outside our marriages for happiness.

I know what coveting did to my life, and I see what it did to my heart” (pp. 64-65)

I wonder if we’ve continued forming mental lists. What those other husbands are doing right… what our husbands are doing wrong… what we are dying to change…

If so, we’re missing joy.

Darlene reminds us in Chapter Eleven to “Seize the day and capture the joy.”

“We have the choice to either sit around waiting for life to be everything that we hoped it would be or start making this life — the moment we’re in right now — a wonderful place…

When we stop long enough to give thanks for what we have instead of complaining about what we don’t have, we’re able to breathe in the sweet scent of His blessings” (p. 147).

Might be time to list out the blessings of who are husbands truly are…

*Want a chance to win a copy of Messy Beautiful Love?

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Thanks so much!

Jennifer

—-

My 5 star amazon.com review of Messy Beautiful Love:

The first chapter of Messy Beautiful Love brought me to tears; the following chapters filled my heart with hope. Darlene Schacht reminds us that yes, all marriages are messy — we all falter and fail, and sometimes we want to give up. But her sound, biblical encouragement, fascinating stories, and practical advice inspires even the weariest among us to press on to claim all that makes marriage so beautiful. I’ve walked away from Messy Beautiful Love with renewed respect for my husband and a refreshed dedication to our lifelong commitment. Read it! Your marriage has everything to gain!  — Jennifer Ebenhack

Christmas Confessions Day 3: [Mis]Judging my Husband

Christmas Confessions Day 3:  [Mis]Judging my Husband

ChristmasConfessionsDay3

My third confession is that I’ve judged my husband.

(What? Judge not that you be not judged?)

I’m married to a hard worker, a wise parent, a dedicated Christ-follower, and a caring, sensitive husband.

And for the record, I’ve read tons of marriage books, I’ve learned about the pivotal issues of love and respect, and I’ve enjoyed a wonderful marriage for fourteen-and-one-half years.

Yet, in my heart of hearts… how much I’ve judged.

When he’s working too hard — He’s becoming a workaholic.

When he relaxes on the couch — Doesn’t he care about all the work I have left?

When I need parenting help — I wish he would handle this.

When he steps in to handle something — That is NOT the right approach for this situation.

When there’s not time for family devotions — He just doesn’t see the spiritual needs in our family like I do.

When he creates a routine for family devotions — Why does he have to be so rigid?

Oh yes, from my lofty vantage point, I have [mis]judged him to be selfish, uncaring, and decidedly less spiritual.

Well, God dropped a book in my lap last week that I now highly recommend — What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You by David Murrow.

And… Wow.

I’ve gained a profound understanding of the why’s… the working, the parenting, and the spiritual leadership, just to name a few.

I look back (at um, a few days ago) and am horrified that my goal has so often been to conform my husband to my “godly,” feminine way of life.

The God-given instincts to protect and provide, the differences in the male brain, the changes in society, especially since the Industrial Revolution, and the way we Western Christians “do church” provide significant answers to the great mysteries (and in the female mind, the CRIMES) of men.

I am truly grateful for fresh insight into the various aspects of my husband (and sons), but even if I hadn’t been provided with the results of such incredible study, I would have been accountable for my judgmental heart. Some other profound words have been around for quite a while…

 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Maybe you can relate. Will you pray with me?

Jesus, I’m sorry for my own self-righteousness. I’m sorry I’ve so often assumed the worst about the incredible husband you gave me. Thank you for creating him in your image — for creating him to be so different than me. Help me to honor and respect him, to understand him better, and to love him – not puffing myself up, not assuming evil, but bearing all things, believing all things, and hoping all things. I admit again how much I need YOU to change my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen

*Don’t forget to check out David Murrow’s book. Maybe you can add it to your Christmas list! I promise you will learn something you’ve never learned before!

But before you do, let me know… what are you learning these days about loving, respecting and believing the best about your husband?