Today I stepped out of the comfort of my administrative role and into a pair of old boots, tattered jeans, and an old ball cap. I went to a job site with Robert to help him with a bathroom remodel. Today’s agenda involved pouring a shower pan. This meant that I needed to help him mix concrete.
If I told you I was excited about this, had nothing else to do, or even enjoyed this task, I would be lying. Some times, you gotta do what you gotta do. He needed my help and I was there. I was there… rain, attitude, and all.
The weather was cold. The hose was busted and water sprayed everywhere. The bags of concrete mix weighed 60 lbs and my back was not loving it. The holes in my jeans allowed for any escaped mix to go right down my pant leg and into my boot.
In order to get the best mixture to Robert, I had to have the right ingredients and the right amounts. I needed to be sure everything was the right consistency to allow him to do his job inside the home.
That is marriage isn’t it? It calls for a recipe of different ingredients and different amounts. A strong marriage requires a careful mixture of many ingredients. When there is too much or too little of something you notice. If there is a new ingredient that doesn’t belong, you cringe. If there is something missing, you can tell. The consistency matters.
Ever try to bake cookies with runny dough? I think you would notice if I added cayenne to your vanilla cake or replaced the eggs with hotdogs. You see what I am getting at, right?
When you watch an old-timer, say, your nana, make biscuits from scratch, it is almost magical. There is a perfect mixture. She has memorized the recipe. Everything rises and browns to perfection. She has had practice and has made this recipe a million times. She may even use words like pinch or smidgen instead of cups or teaspoons. She knows what her recipe calls for. That kind of execution takes commitment.
If the marital recipe is lacking grace or forgiveness, the dough may not rise. If there is little consideration and a lot of self-serving behaviors, the cake may fall. If we are sick with temptation or confined by resentment, we will be lucky to even see the inside of the oven.
The bible calls for us to offer our different roles. We have to take our ingredients and hand them over to God. He will work wonders in our marriages. Happy relationships do not happen by chance, they occur when two people are doing their part.
A marriage is chosen by God. This union represents our relationship with God. Think of your salvation. Your marriage was meant to help you gain a better understanding of God’s love. Your spouse is imperfect. They may annoy you, make you mad, betray you, and let you down. While I do not share God’s capacity to love, my marriage has taught me a lot about His grace, mercy, and love.
Sometimes showing love means mixing concrete. Sometimes grace means forgiving your wife for bringing home a lap dog. Sometimes mercy means letting her sleep. Marriage doesn’t call for big acts. These gestures, spiritual gifts, and kind efforts can be small, but when added to your recipe, they can make all the difference.
The tile for the shower will have a solid foundation. We gave it the perfect mixture of effort and intention. Things were measured and applied evenly. It was a two-person job and we both rolled up our sleeves to do it. We weren’t each other’s biggest fans today, but I was still Robert’s teammate. I like to think that says something about our foundation.
Life is messy and relationships are hard, but that doesn’t have to hinder my ability to bring my ingredients to my marriage and, ultimately, to the feet of my God. I want a foundation that holds and a recipe that can be passed down through generations. I want my husband to know God’s love, but I also want him to know my own.
Today that meant concrete in my boots.
1 Corinthians 16:14:
“Do everything in love.”