Did we ever tell you how we aren’t totally in love with a lot of marriage advice out there?
Well, at least we aren’t in love with anyone who offers advice and attests to having it all together, offering tips and tricks, making suggestions about how to fix this or fix that.
Some of our resistance comes from our own pride—we should know this stuff already. We’ve been married nearly 18 years and we don’t like being told what to do, especially when it involves things that should have occurred to us, but didn’t. We also, we confess, just don’t like listening to anyone, from a blog or article or book or church, who thinks they have it all together. We don’t like listening to anyone who thinks they have the perfect marriage . . .or, at least, pretends they do.
We believe that tips and tricks from folks who think they have it all together can often be meaningless, and perhaps even hurtful. We hurt each other when we aren’t honest . . . and we aren’t honest when we tell others we have it all together . . . or try to appear like we do.
And, actually, we know a thing or two about that kind of hurt, because we used to think we had it all together. We used to think we knew a lot about marriage, a lot about how to be good at “doing marriage” together. We were young. We were arrogant. We didn’t know what we didn’t know.
But, as we go further in this marriage, we learn more and more about just how much we don’t know. After you’ve made as many mistakes as we’ve made, it gets really hard to continue to convince yourself that you got anything ‘all together.’ When we started out in marriage, we thought we knew a lot of things. At this point, we pretty much know just one big thing: that without the genius of Jesus we’ll make a mess of things in about 30 minutes from now.
When this blog started, just a little while ago with this post, introducing Holy Entanglement, the big message we wanted to get across is that this isn’t a blog for tips, strategies, or quick fix-it advice. This isn’t a blog written by two people who think they’re perfect or who actually have any idea what in the world they are doing or where in the world they are going without our King, Jesus Christ, leading the way.
Yet, we write, because we have finally surrendered. We write, because we finally want to trust God more than ourselves—and this, we believe, is what He has given us to do. We write, because we are like you. We are in the wonderful mess and it’s hard and we’ve finally learned that with marriage, as with love, it is all about surrender.
But, why are we writing about this particular topic? Why spend a blog post talking about why we don’t like most marriage advice?
We are writing about this because we wanted to use it as an opportunity to tell you this, once more: we want Holy Entanglement to be a place where we can all be honest, where we can all be ourselves. Because we want you to know we hope this blog is a place of acceptance, inclusiveness, hope and encouragement, where you can come and be reminded—no matter what you are facing—you are not alone.
So, how can we love and support you, here?
Please know that we are praying for you. We pray over the name of each email subscriber, each person who has joined us by liking Gather Ministries on Facebook. We pray for each reader, each person commenting. (Do you know how much we’d love to get to know you and learn better how we can help encourage you, in whatever you are facing?)
The two of us, Jennifer and Justin, know firsthand the effects of selfishness and pride and dishonesty. We know what it’s like to hide things from one another and then finally trust God, and each other, with the truth. We know what it’s like to make terrible mistakes and rebel against God.We know what it’s like to push back from God’s love rather than run towards it, when it requires that we go through something that feels like death. We know about the effects of promiscuity before marriage. And we know the effects of pornography afterward. We know about pride and we know about believing our own needs are more important than our spouse’s needs.
We know what it’s like to believe having a good marriage means looking good, physically, as well as having a nice car and house and kids that behave well in public. We know what it’s like to pretend everything is okay when, in reality, each spouse feels completely alone and unable to communicate to anyone what is really going on.
So, we just want you to know that we are here, rooting for you, praying for you. And, we want you to know that the truth of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit can redeem anything, can turn anything around, can turn around whatever you are facing. God cares about your marriage. We do too.
So please, reach out—maybe even introduce yourself, in the comments, or connect with us on Facebook. We will soon be talking here about community. The two of us have found it vital to have people who know us and love us supporting us, in our marriage. Being Holy Entangled is beautiful and messy. We need to cheer each other on, for sure. So, let’s get to know one another, here.
Also, we’d love to hear from you about what you would like to see here, at Holy Entanglement. We’d love to hear what topic or issue or concern you would love to see explored. We’d just love to hear from you.
photo credit: picjumbo