The electrician trade – as wonderful as it is – has not been kind to my husband’s jeans. I think I’ve patched three pairs within just the last few months! I used my sewing machine at first; however, my machine struggled with the material and when the first patch didn’t hold (it was honestly in a bad location to repair anyway), I switched to hand-sewing. It’s certainly more time-consuming but those patches have stubbornly stayed put and, as slow (and sometimes finger-pricking painful!) as the hand-sewing is, it’s something God has used to teach me a word picture about marriage.
Once Alexander has a hole in his jeans, no matter how small it is, I need to repair that hole as soon as possible. If I don’t and he keeps wearing those jeans, then the hole is only going to grow and grow until it becomes extremely difficult to fix or even irreparable. I’ll admit that one of my flaws is procrastinating on patching the jeans because the project looms in my mind as so utterly time-consuming; however, the longer I put off the problem, the more time-consuming – and potentially impossible – it becomes.
That illustration has become a practical and challenging picture of my marriage. When little rifts show up in our relationship, bridging the gap may be a challenging and tedious process but it’s so necessary if I want to help build a marriage that will last despite the wear and tear of time. The longer I wait, the longer I say, “Oh, it’s not a big deal; I’ll let it slide this time,” the longer I rationalize a flaw in my own character that brings damage to our marriage, then the harder it will be to fully, permanently cover the spreading hole. And if I wait too long, our once beautiful, strong, and trial-ready marriage will dissipate in shreds.
That’s not the marriage I want. Nor is it the marriage God intends.
And yet, as this whole process has taught me, I have to go one step further than patching up the holes – I need to prevent them. Something Alexander has asked me to do, in addition to fixing the rips in his jeans, is to reinforce the knees with some extra material. Doing so not only cushions his knees but also protects the jeans from wearing out so quickly. Therefore, the project I’m currently working on is patching over the slightly worn-out knees with batting, flannel, and extra jean material. Once again, the process is precise and tedious – pinning and repining the initial batting and patch until it’s in exactly the right position, sewing on that first flannel patch, sewing on a second, sewing on a third, finally sewing on the protective jean layer, and then repeating the process on the other knee. But all that time will be well worth the effort when my husband can kneel with less pain and when those jeans hardily endure the trials of electrician work.
But this basic handiwork project presents some pretty serious questions for my personal life. Do I put the same time and effort into protecting and preserving my own marriage as I put into these jeans? Am I on the alert for “worn” spots, areas that might need more growth and support because of the strain they receive? Am I invested in improving our marriage from my end, rather than simply maintaining it at status quo? Am I actively, consistently reinforcing our marriage?
As a homemaker, I’m called to patch and reinforce jeans that will probably only last a few years at the most. But as a helpmeet, I’m called to patch and reinforce a marriage that is meant to last a lifetime.
Questions for You:
What areas in your marriage need patching?
What areas could use some reinforcement?
We communicate well, but sometimes I interrupt Alexander or speak in a disrespectful tone. In order to keep those channels of communication freely open, I need to guard my mouth more diligently.
Has God used any homemaking tasks to teach you a word picture recently? I’d love to hear about it!