Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tuck pointing

I spent this afternoon tuck pointing a section of our porch. It's not hard work, but it's very tedious--first you have to clean out the old, broken mortar. Then you mix up the new mortar, getting it to just the right consistency. You put some on a trowel, then shove it in with a specific tool. A 10 lb bag of mortar, a trowel, and the pusher tool cost less than $10, and the three hours I spent on it will keep our porch from collapsing (at least for a few more years). I didn't do the most beautiful job, but it will be better than no mortar (which is what was there).

Building a house is an analogy used both for our spiritual lives and a marriage/family. Psalm 127:1 says "unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." The second half of the psalm talks about children being a blessing, and is actually where the "quiverfull" phrase is, so I think I'm ok in applying it to a family.

One set of our friends is in a very hard place in their marriage. Between talking to the wife and working on the tuckpointing, it's got me thinking about the foundations of marriage and the mortar that holds it together.

For a Christian marriage, the cornerstone has to be Jesus Christ. I'm amazed that secular marriages work without that base of faith and prayer. Some of the other bricks are common experiences/memories and common interests. But as we age, those interests can change, and the common memories can fade...guess that would be the house built on the sand in Matthew 7:26.

But what's the mortar, the glue that holds everything together? Looking for the house on the sand passage really helped me--"everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." So what are these words? Hmm...look a little earlier in Matthew 7:
--Verse 1:Don't judge. It's easy to look around and find greener grass somewhere else, but every marriage has its struggles. It's especially easy to judge our spouses and see their failings, but we'll be judged by the same measure we use by a much more perfect Judge!
--Verse 3: You can't change others, but you can change yourself. It's easy to see other faults while overlooking our own. While sometimes the other person is the one with the log in their eye, we still need to focus on asking forgiveness for our own failings, and fixing what we can rather than pointing fingers.
--Verse 6: Don't throw pearls to pigs. to apply this to marriage. I guess for me it's where do I put my quality time--to I give it to Jesus and my spouse, or do they get the left overs?
--Verse 7: "ask and it will be given to you." Two applications: your spouse is not a mind reader. If you need or want something, you have to tell them. Second, pray for your marriage.
--Verses 9-12: "Who gives their child a rock when they ask for bread?" Do nice things for your spouse. Fill their "emotional bank" with positive comments and thank yous, even if it's for things you "expect" them to do.
--Verse 13-14: Take the hard road. It's easy to stop fighting for your marriage and take the easy route of divorce, but that's not what God wants for marriage.

So what's the mortar? From that list, it looks like not judging others, cleaning up your problem areas, giving your spouse your best, praying for your marriage, and staying committed, even when the going gets rough. Even though it's not specifically in that passage, trust and intimacy are important too (maybe that's in the throwing pearls to pigs too?).

So maybe this is just my fried brain after sitting for three hours in the hot sun, shoving mortar in cracks. What do you think are the bricks and mortar of a marriage?

If you'd like to hear more about what God is showing others, through is word or about who He is, check out More of Him Monday


Jen said...

I know...I always wonder how secular marriages stay together when neither the husband or wife is born again. That was always a deal breaker for DH and I when we were single. For us, Jesus Christ is the ultimate cornerstone. There are lots of other spiritual "bricks" that are being built in and around us, but without Him, the entire marriage would crumble.
And, even though we were both committed, mature believers when we married, we still struggled to die to self (ok, we probably still have our moments!). Again, Christ's example always kept us in check and eventually led us back to the place He intended for us to be.
A great (and I mean FANTASTIC!) resource for Christian wives is "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace. My copy is getting dogeared and I have been through the study several times with many women. I love that it is entirely opinions or notions. Just what God says we should be and do and believe and liken after according to His Word. It is very challenging and flies in the face of worldly teachings and examples...but that's why it is so great!

Good post and good God time!

JAN said...

This was really good. I especially needed the reminder of verse 3-it's so easy for me to point the finger at "him" and forget that I'm not perfect either. :-)

Heather said...

What a great post, Ann!

I love praying with my Hubby. It helps me to feel close to the Lord, and to my husband as the spiritual leader of our family.

And the whole spiritual headship thing has been tough for me. I can be pretty strong and opinionated. But I have to respect that that is his role, not mine.