A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Erin Moore
My husband, Craig, and I just returned from Orlando, Florida where we attended a youth conference attended by several of the east coast Church of God, Seventh Day groups. Also heavily represented were churches from St. Lucia (Virgin Islands) with a few from Jamaica, London and one gentleman each from Kenya and South Africa. Truly, I was enlightened to a whole new culture and a whole new world of worship. It was amazing and I was truly blessed by a few specific people. But as much as I’d love to go on about the conference (it really was awesome) maybe one of the biggest eye openers was spending 35 hours in a car with my new husband. That's right, I said 35 hours. That's almost exactly a day and a half.

Now let me tell you that I love my husband dearly. He is a huge blessing to me. However, 18 hours straight within three feet of one person and you are bound to wish there were another 10 feet there and a sound proof barrier. And I'm not just talking about me being annoyed with him, believe it or not, (I know, I know – impossible right?) he was at least a little annoyed as well. And generally he's considered the more patient of the two. Is this a sign of an unhealthy marriage or a poor match? Possibly. But I highly doubt it. 

I have this theory that relationships are not, after all, fairy tales or strings of perfect moments strung together seamlessly only interrupted by the necessity of sleep. I declare that they are indeed messy affairs. That probably has something to do with the whole human nature thing. Call me crazy. It's just a hunch. But consider: two imperfect people take their own messy lives, however disciplined and God-centered, they're still going to be a bit messy (human nature thing again), and decide to place them both under one roof and fit them together as best possible. Now consider that they are both probably used to controlling their own “messes” and quite content in most of those areas. So when the other cries out, “Your mess is messing up this nice clean area of my life!” The other is highly offended. After all, no one really enjoys being critiqued. And although the release of being discovered is healing, no one really enjoys being found out to be a “messy” person after all. Plus, deep down I don't think we realize that we too can be annoying until someone so close to us lets us know. So in our young and inexperienced ways, we stumble through the first years of marriage wondering why the other is so messy, all the while, remaining blind to our own dust bunnies.

If left to our own devices, surely, no marriage would succeed, or would succeed in a healthy, growing and maturing kind of way. The messes would only grow and our acute sensitivity to another's faults as well as their awareness of our own faults would destroy love. But despair not, there is hope. There is one really awesome Janitor to help us out. He knows that I don't ever make the bed except on rare occasions (at least Craig and I have mutually agreed not to do that until we entertain more often…) and that maybe you don't do the dishes until a week's worth is sitting in the sink. Still, He loves us and He'll offer a pair of rubber gloves or help you do the laundry if you seek Him out. He's that dedicated to your success. He's going to give you the tools, the love and the heart you need if you are diligent to find them.

I’d like to go back to those 35 hours in the car, especially the 17 hours it took on the way back, and share with you the miracle of God. Undoubtedly, at several points I ended up annoyed by something trivial Craig had said. Maybe it was the fact that he was ruining my favorite Stacie Orrico song by singing falsetto intentionally off beat and key… I don't remember. But I fell asleep and when I awoke I was calling him honey and rubbing his neck. Before I could catch myself, my love for him had overridden whatever stupid reason I was annoyed with him. And vice versa. Love; a tender touch, a smile, something humble and honest, has that wonderful affect. But note, I did realize that I had been annoyed before I drifted off to sleep. I could have returned to that state. But I chose not to hold on to it. Obviously, it didn't matter. And honestly, I have this theory only a handful of things are ever worth holding on to. But without God, I'm sure I would believe differently. I know I have in the past. But thankfully, He's good at helping me with these messy affairs.