Who doesn’t love weddings? Fresh flowers, careful planning, bridesmaid dresses, sharp tuxes, and, of course the new couple glimmering with love for each other. First kiss as man and wife. First breathtaking smile of awe. Eyes full of hope and freshly sown seeds of precious promised vows to love and protect “until death do us part.”
But sometimes vows don’t seem to be enough.
Sure, there are fights along the way. Silly things that blow up into bigger-than-life arguments with the help of miscommunication. Dirty socks on the floor, toilet paper turned the wrong way, overspending in the budget, where to spend the holidays, and the list goes on. But then there are the things that reach into the deepest parts of who we are, the darkest things, the pieces that stay hidden in secret tunnels of our hearts for a reason. Pieces of us that, if we’re honest, we know full well are broken and ugly. The light of a marriage relationship hits those broken shards and we have to make a choice.
Is the vow enough to cover broken?
We could leave the marriage entirely. Throw in the towel and toss aside everything we have fought for, worked for, and loved through in our marriage. It sounds unreasonable, but sometimes those dark and broken places can make it seem like the only choice. We can think of all manner of justification to leave.
“He did that first.”
“Any other person would have handled it differently.”
“If I had known that about her, I wouldn’t have married her in the first place.”
Reasons so heartless when said aloud, but feel like perfect justification when whispered in our hearts.
Reasons that tell only one side of the story.
Reasons that point to brokenness in us just as much as our spouse.
We could stay in the marriage but seal up our hearts so we never get hurt again.
Becoming roommates instead of soulmates.
Still functioning, but not really “there.”
Sharing things, but not the “real things.”
Authenticity and transparency die and hearts are never truly known….or loved.
Both choices start and end with ugly pride and an arrogance that reeks of dissension. We easily point our finger at the opposing partner as we bundle up our hurt with a million justifications. All the while we blindly turn away from any damage we have inflicted or baggage we have brought to cause hurt in reverse. We build up our justifiable case and walk away because suddenly the vows don’t seem to be enough and the only thing that’s breathtaking now is the aftershock of pain.
It’s a dark place where Broken meets Broken and promises to love seem ludicrous.
But there’s a third option.
An option where we put down our pointing fingers and hold up a mirror instead.
Our scars don’t look the same.
Our personal dark places have different shadows.
But we are both broken.
Those vows to love and honor, protect and cherish…they weren’t for perfect people who would be magically made “whole” by the other, but for flesh and blood people whose baggage and mistakes have the potential to bind us together instead of tear us apart.
The third option says, “I loved you on our wedding day and I meant it. For then and now, no matter how dark it looks.”
It’s a choice that understands that real love isn’t selfish.
It doesn’t walk away and neither does it hide away, rather it gives away.
It looks Broken straight in the face and chooses to hold hands and keep walking together despite how we feel.
Broken can bring darkness, but it doesn’t have to stay there. The vows of marriage, all on their own, aren’t enough. They simply point us to the unbroken, unconditional love of a God who purposely designed marriage to survive the brokenness and reflect His own glory
if we allow Him to reshape us in the process.
What will you choose?
Do you have spiritual questions you’d like to talk about?
Send me an email at Rebecca@redemptionslove.com I’d love to hear from you!