I would like to draw a parallel between marriage and a well constructed tool chest. Bear with me, I am a farmers daughter, I know a little bit. Ha bit, you get it?
We all get married we start of with a heavy duty tool chest, with felt liners, no scratches on the exterior and a handful of tools on the inside. Loosely placed, assumed never to be used. Some of the tools are lovely, a craftsman screwdriver set passed down. Representing an attribute from his parents marriage that was a lesson, that lesson was passed down. For example, “Always look your wife in the eye when she’s talking to you.”
Maybe the wife has added a few tools, that are broken. A hammer head without a handle, or nail gun that doesn’t fire. Representing dysfunction that was passed down. For example, “Look out for yourself,” or “Make him pay for his mistakes.”
Regardless of what the tools are, they are few. You will have to work through them and sort the good from the bad.
My husband and I have been Married nearly 10 years. Oh the tools we have had to purchase in learn in the last five years. Cleaning out our boxes, sorting through the broken and the good tools we each bring. Then as we learn a new tool, their are scratches scrapes bruises and mistakes. But when it’s said and done we have another tool in our chest. Each one seems to work this way. Some are easier to learn that others.
For example, going beyond saying sorry and asking the offended person to forgive you. What putting myself into their hands? It’s risky and worth it. It communicated I love you, I respect you, I have hurt you, I desire to not hurt you again in this way, and when you have processed this will you forgive me and wipe this stain from me. We will call this tool number one. It requires teamwork.
Tool number two might be directness. “I love you, I would like you to take me on a date, let’s say Tuesday.” No games, but clear honest communication that will set the foundation for a good evening and fruitful conversation.
Tool number three, reject the lies that Satan tempts with. “Oh he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t think I am pretty.” With the words you know to be true, then gently ask for reassurance. It can also play out like this, “did you get the trash taken out yet?” He thinks she doesn’t respect him, she doesn’t see that he has been working hard all day, that he’s mopped the floors while holding a baby in his arm. No the truth is she loves him, respects him, and she is clumsy and trips over the trash bag. As a tool she can review her words “yet” was unnecessary and probably the one word that started the miscommunication.
Tool number four, Love is patient, Love is Kind, it does not envy or boast, it keeps no records of wrong. It rejoices with truth. Love always hopes, always endured, Love never fails. Read the Bible, read these words. Reflect on how you have measured up to loving your spouse in these ways today. Ask your Heavenly Father for forgiveness. For not treating his son or daughter in the way they need to be treated. Ask Him for help in one small area today.
Tool number five, ask for help. Help from your pastor over a dispute, help from a couple you respect over parenting issues, just help for someone to PLEASE watch the kids tonight so we can have conversations longer than three seconds and nobody is throwing shredded cheese at our face. (Well I suppose that depends on the restraunt!)
The list of tools could go on and on but I hope this has helped you add a few useful ones to your box.
My father is 62, he is a maintenance man, he works hard, things are organized and always ready. I pray that you may have the discipline to sharpen your tools as iron sharpens iron, to organize them so you can find them in times of need, that you would continually add to the chest, as opposed to not fixing the issue, and that this would be an heirloom you can pass down toward your children.
My dad is so proud of his tool shed, all the cool stuff he’s found, restored, or discovered. It truly is treasure.
One last story. I just witnessed my elderly (they will not like that I used this term) parents snow plow the front driveway. My dad had rotator cuff surgery so one good arm, and my mother had herniated discs and spurs in her back. Neither one of them is capable to do this on their own. Two as One, joined by the snow plow and God, journeying together, working together with the tools built up in their box over time.
God may not always fill your box, but I do believe He will enable you to use what you have been given to Glorify him and Serve your Spouse.