We suppose marriage hurts when there’s something wrong.
As a newlywed wife, I believed marriage would hurt when there was something wrong. Consequently, I would brace myself for the bumps and bruises when we hit a stormy season.
But finally, we got to this place where my husband and I were at a good place. And still, marriage hurt. And I didn’t get it.
Our communication was better (good place) but he still made me crazy at times (marriage hurt.) I was finally okay doing more chores (good place) but I still felt so tired making most of the meals (marriage hurt).
I finally accepted I married a dude, not a girl (very good place) but I still wished he was easier to understand, even “train” (marriage hurt.)
My relationship was good overall but it was still stretching me.
And because it was pulling me, kneading me, challenging me, I questioned if it was good at all. After all, doesn’t healthy mean the absence of exertions??
I compared (See Comparison in Marriage: 3 Simple Steps to Defeat It,) got confused (See Can I Love My Husband Too Much?) feared and sometimes pushed him.
Until (and I am still on this journey) I came to this place where I am learning that a perfectly good marriage will always stretch me. Because a perfectly good marriage grows, refines and matures.
God uses my husband to stretch me in numerous ways.
In sweet ways like when I am overwhelmed by the blessing he is (See The Simple Yet Fabulous Ways Husbands Love Their Wives.) And in hard ways when I resist the the inevitable death-to-self sentence See How Humility Changed The Course of Our Marriage.
I now see why marriage hurts our feelings, even when we are doing it right: growth is not a pain-free process.
In John 15 Jesus said
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Cutting and pruning: two actions which look the same but their end goal is different.
Let’s dive into the Scripture above to help us process some of the hurt that comes with marriage.
1. Jesus is our foundation.
Verse 1 I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, marriage and all of life point back to God. He is the source of everything, and nothing exists without Him.
Marriage speaks of His magnificence, His love, His nature. As the Gardener, God is continuously working in us, revealing things about Himself to us.
That means continuous growth and yes, stretch.
2. Marriage will make us better or worse
Verse 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
It’s true what they say about life and especially relationships: they makes you better or bitter. God can use your relationship to grow you. Or you can use your relationship to become bitter.
Marriage will reveal the areas you need to grow. In my book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early Years I talk about the concept of the “mirror.”
I find that my relationship with God is like a mirror. Typically a clean mirror will reflect back your true form; it does not display what you want to see, it shows who you are. A rational person does not pick a fight with the mirror if they dislike what they see because they know that the mirror will not change its mind to accommodate their view.” Excerpt Blues to Bliss
In marriage, we have the privilege of being shaped by God in new ever-changing ways. So you can see things “your way” or “Gods way”
You will feel the shears of the Gardener, our Creator. And they will either be “cutting off branches that will not produce fruit” or “pruning the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
3. Marriage hurts but His promise is true
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
One of the many qualities I’ve come to appreciate about my relationship with God is His strength in my weakness.
The success of my marriage does not depend on my strength but on on my “remaining” in God.
“Remaining” is such a sweet peaceful word – it speaks of rest. And I cling to this promise because sway on the side of “doing”. I tend to work and travail, not rest. See Overcoming Discouragement Through The Word of God
And there’s nothing wrong with godly work but all godly work has to be anchored on the words found in Psalm 127:1, 2 Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
We must remind ourselves of the enoughness of God. Marriage hurts, challenges, grows – but we are secure in the hands of our loving Father. We can trust Him not just to perfect us, but to sustain us through it all.
Let’s talk – Has marriage (or dating relationship) been stretching you lately? Out of these three points above, which one have you struggled with the most? Let’s chat in comments below!
Update: Blues to Bliss Giveaway Winners!
The winners for last week’s giveaway are Bianca and Megan Burchett! Congratulations! Please Click here to send me your email address so I can get the book to you! Thanks to everyone who participated!
Tired of the fussing and distance? Want to restore joy, healing and happiness to your marriage? Or maybe you just want to love better, create the marriage of your dreams, God’s way. My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years will set you on that road. Buy it here Amazon Paperback I Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF I UK/Europe PDF . Or Click here to go to the book page.