Marriage & Family Life: No matter how messy, we are loved

by Adam Storey | January 17, 2019

Adam Storey

I’m just going to put this out there. My house is often messy.

It’s not uncommon to find a few dishes that need to get washed, or some toys strewn about, or the occasional (my wife might say frequent) stray sock of mine.

I am guessing I’m not the only parent of small children who feels like he’s living in a state of perpetual chaos, and yet at times I do feel quite alone. You see, somehow every time I visit a friend’s house I notice washed dishes, clean rooms, and virtually zero stray socks!

I’ve reflected on this experience, and I’ve come to realize that my family can put on a pretty good show, too. We’re masters of the 30-minute cleanup which means hiding all evidence of a house that’s lived in. We have said those prayers to St. Jude requesting that our guests can be just 10 minutes late; please Lord let me have the vacuum put away before they get here! With enough heads up, we can always present well. (My mom had a saying for this; she would say, “If you’re coming over to see me, you’re welcome at any time. If you’re coming over to see my house, schedule an appointment!”)

            I think this is true of our homes, but it’s also true of our lives as well. In my role, I have the incredible privilege to be invited into the messy parts of many couple’s lives. The parts they hide from almost everyone else. Almost universally I hear things like, “Why are we the only ones going through this?” or “Why does everyone else have it put together?”

I’ve known enough couples, (and know enough about myself) to know that’s never true.

I think this is important because Satan loves to cause shame. He loves to isolate us, and turn us in on ourselves. But Christ taught us that wounds heal in the light.

In the light, there is freedom and healing. In the light, we get to experience the fact that no matter how messy our lives are, we are loved and chosen by God.

I think it is vital for every person to have somewhere to go to talk openly, to share all their struggles and warts. Not to celebrate or exaggerate our wounds and certainly not to further wound our spouse or family, but we need places and people with whom we can be honest, to whom we can reveal our hearts, so that we can experience healing and peace.

In marriage, the first and vital place to share all of yourself is with your spouse. Spiritual directors and close friends are also a profound gift, and it is important to have a place to talk and grow as a couple.  

If you don’t yet have a place to share your heart (individually or as a couple) I’d challenge you find someone. We need to be able to open our hearts, because it is only when someone sees all of me that I can experience the profound gift of being loved unconditionally. 

Adam Storey

Adam Storey leads the Marriage Ministry Department for the Diocese of Des Moines, which seeks to work with parishes and couples, walking with all families in all their stages, in their joys and sorrows, their celebrations and challenges.