Ironing Things Out

This morning I spent a few minutes ironing a couple of my shirts. You see, last week, I grabbed a shirt after a shower and rushed out to a meeting, only to realize on the way there that the shirt was a wrinkled mess. The permanent press label didn't seem to mean much. I survived the afternoon without too much humiliation.

But it made me think of the bigger wrinkles in our life.

We've been doing some ironing in our marriage lately.

What - marriage isn't permanent press?

Though our vow (our covenant) in this relationship, is permanent, that sure doesn't mean we are wrinkle free. Eighteen years in, we are realizing some of the wrinkles have been there quite a while and we haven't really dealt with them, for many reasons. Sometimes they are hidden deep inside us, sometimes we deny them, sometimes we don't think they are that big of a deal.

Sometimes we realize that it will take new courage or gentleness and than we have enough now.

My wife recently pulled a fun dress out of the recesses of our closet (in our Vancouver downstairs bedroom) to find that it was wrinkled and musty. Thankfully, a quick wash later and all is good.

It doesn't seem to work that way with our relational wrinkles. No quick wash and wear. Some deep ironing is in order; with patience and persistence.

I'm thankful that some of our relational habits (as faultily as we keep them), have enabled us to engage some of these deeper issues, instead of just drifting apart.
I think I default to giving us a little too much grace (ie. 'We are in a busy time in our lives - as things balance out, our wrinkles will iron themselves out' - or something like that). I'm thankful that my wife isn't as laid back and has encouraged "ironing" in the midst of craziness.

As I type, I'm listening to the song, If You Fall - achingly beautiful. It speaks to the power of covenant to stick to each other and make it through.

If you fall, I fall with you
If you hurt I feel it too
Even if my heart turns black and blue
I will love you

So we light a fire, once we get the kids down.
It's late, we try to stay awake.
We have some harder conversations.
There is some silence.

And as we stare at the flames, popping and crackling, I picture the irons of old being heated over a fire like this. Then, hot enough to burn, being applied, gently but firmly and patiently to the wrinkles.

We'll do the same ...