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Growing a New Marriage with Dirty Dishwater

Photo of Susanna McCoySusanna McCoy | Bio

Susanna McCoy

Susanna is a farm girl (and a black belt in Taekwondo) who channels her work ethic into raising three daughters and two sons. Coffee helps. She and her husband Daniel met at Ozark Christian College. She now enjoys homeschooling their school-aged children and writing about insights God teaches her along the family journey. A musician and a writer of poetry, she loves that there is always something new to discover in the family of God.

The dishwater had few suds left, and the water was a muddy chocolate brown. That’s when Daniel walked into the kitchen and glanced over where I’d just placed the bowl and spoon into dirty dishwater. What ensued was one of those classic newlywed “discussions” where the golden days of newlywed bliss feel like they begin to tarnish. Each person sees a little fuller the reality of this person with whom they agreed, “Till death do us part.” It seems silly now, my defending how I washed bowls and spoons in the dirty water. But the kitchen was my domain and heaven help whoever wanted to ‘help’ me!

Daniel was gentle and kind in suggesting a more efficient method for cleaning the dishes. But I took what were his sympathetic suggestions and heard only accusations that I needed help to improve. Self-righteousness raged inside. I suffered his suggestions but soon left the room in a silent storm. Apparently, what I’d read on being an understanding helpmeet had not prepared me enough. Nor our few short meetings for premarital counseling. Nor the recent wedding sermon spoken over us. At that moment of fury, I was to come to a crossroads between going my own way or learning how to lay the problem out and choose the best solution together. It wasn’t the canyon I was feeling, but a crossroads instead.

A marriage is composed of two flawed people. It’s the sort of situation when you can’t see through dishwater that you can best see through to the soul. Surprises reveal so much about who we are. We can choose to stay and find peace and resolution together, or storm away and do it our own way. But that is a lonely path, and not the means of sanctifying and refining that God meant marriage to be. We can never truly be ready for marriage, or for parenting, or for so many other things until we enter into them and are refined together. Put another way, it’s marriage and marriage’s difficulties that make you somebody someone could marry.

That day was another crossroads to choose to do life together. We waded through the muddy feelings and found peace. Finding peace together time after time brings us to understand what it is to have to forgive and to be forgiven, to love dearly and to be dearly loved.