“How do you treat a box that arrives at your door labeled “Fragile: Handle with Care”? When I see that, I make every effort not to shake up the contents, tip the box, or cut into it quickly. Wouldn’t it be something if God stamped that message upon every person’s heart? If He sent us into the world with a warning that read, “Handle this one with care”? Maybe we’d stop shaking things up as much as we do. Maybe we’d think twice before tipping scales in our favor. And perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to cut into people who hurt us. Maybe we’d handle their hearts with more care than we do.
Here’s the thing. That’s exactly what God has ordained us to do. Maybe it’s not written on a sticker and slapped onto a box, but the message is every bit as clear: “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).”
This particular chapter of the book, “Messy Beautiful Love” by Darlene Schacht, deals with communication. In my first marriage, by the time we were separating, we hadn’t really talked in about a year and a half. Oh, we said, “Good Morning”, “Have a good day at work”, “Zachary doesn’t have school today”, “Alex needs a bath”, but nothing deep. I learned really well how not to show or share my feelings. With my second husband, things are much better. The one thing he does not allow me to do is keep my feelings to myself. If we’re having a fight, my instinct is to run away and not talk. He comes after me, pulls me into his arms, and waits for me to speak my heart. I love that about him.
We have been married for 3 years. We both have had to adjust because of our family situations before we married. Since I started reading this book, I have been working extra hard at letting him lead our family, respecting him, showing him I love him by making sure the things that bother him most are taken care of before he comes home from work. And also, communication. With me it’s the little things that bother me. For instance, when I want some time with him before he leaves for work, and the kids start being their normal, chaotic selves, he tells me to go take care of them and he’ll see me when he gets home. But I would be happy to let them scream and fight so I can have that last two minutes with him before he leaves. This was the scene this morning and we had a mini fight. I protested about going to take care of them, and I could tell that he was not happy with the situation. God nudged me to not let him leave without fixing what I could. So I got the kids mostly calmed down, and ran outside. He hadn’t left yet, so we were able to “make up” before he left.
I am learning that if I take care of the little things, they won’t get to be big problems like grounds for divorce. I am ecstatic that God saw fit to bring me a husband who won’t allow me to not communicate with him. I am also not the only one to apologize, nor am I usually the first to apologize. This is very refreshing to me!
One last quote from the book today: “Choosing God’s will for my marriage calls me to put down the weapons of warfare and pick up the instrument of peace, which is that of a kind and gentle heart. It’s never easy to walk in humility or to exercise patience, but as it is with any exercise, the more we flex those muscles, the stronger we get. We have to dig into God, and if we’re feeling let down and discouraged, we have to dig deeper yet. In order to grow patient we must practice being patient time and again; but doing so is always difficult in the moment, isn’t it? Each time I fail, I’m reminded of how human I am and just how big the grace of God is.”
This wonderful book is now available to the public! http://messybeautifullove.com