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