We were in the tile aisle of Home Depot. Miles was cheerfully chattering in the shopping cart seat, whilst Andy and I looked at tile for a project. No arguing. Just discussion and dreaming.
As Andy made notes of prices, it suddenly hit me that we had been here before. In this very aisle. Picking out tile. It was about a year and a half ago and we were deciding on tile for the backsplash in our kitchen. Unlike today, we were not in a good mood. Andy and I had completely different opinions on what tile would look good, and our disagreement turned into a full-blown fight. We left that day empty-handed, both hurt and angry. Yet, here we were, almost two years later, picking out tile without anger. We didn’t always agree, but we were working it out peacefully and, strangely enough, happily.
I thought for a minute about how remodeling a house together is really strengthening for a marriage. After all, it was through our remodeling projects that we learned to work together and make decisions without everything blowing up into huge fights. We’ve even learned how to have fun making decisions together.
Yet, I know that remodeling a house, like any challenge that comes into a marriage, can also bring nothing but grief and heartache. You see, our marriages will not be free of hard times, trials, and tests. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that the marriages that last are those that are made stronger not just despite the challenges, but through them.
I took a picture of my husband in that tile aisle. I didn’t want to remember that big fight, necessarily, but I did want to remember how far we’ve come since then. It’s hard to see where time and tests will take you, but looking back it all becomes very clear.
We still have our fights. Usually about dumb things that get blown way out of proportion. Pride, hormones, and words that shouldn’t have been said usually play a part. Thankfully, however, I know that these fights will not be the downfall of our marriage. I also know that we will never again argue in that tile aisle.
By the grace of God, we’ve learned to compromise. We’ve learned to listen to each other’s opinions and disagree without hurting or degrading. We’ve learned that the end result is much more fun when we dream, plan, and work together…when we let God use the hard times to refine us and make our marriage ultimately stronger.
We all have a choice. Will you let the hard times, the trials, and the challenges divide you as a couple? Instead, I challenge you to join us on the journey the opposite direction. I challenge you to lay everything at the feet of He who is more than able, and let Him make something beautiful out of the brokenness.