Sealing the Cracks of the Marital Vase
If you were to break a beautiful, ornate vase, then take the shattered remnants, painstakingly glue them back together and put it on a mantle, it may still look like the vase that you’ve always loved. The gorgeous design is still there and pleasing to the eye, enhancing the beauty of the fresh flowers it holds, but if you were to fill it with water, those microscopic cracks would fail to keep that water contained therein. It would seep out, trickle down the sides of the vase, drip off the mantle and fail to nourish the very thing it was made for.
It would be easy to look at a marriage where infidelity occurred and see it much like that vase. The natural assumption may be that while it looks well put together to others, it’s never going to function the way it did before the damage and heartache. Why would you ever bother putting something fresh and fragile into it after the source of nourishment has been cut off?
If you’ve ever heard Darren Mulligan, lead singer for We Are Messengers, speak of his wife, you might find it hard to believe that their relationship was ever anything but perfect. They respect and admire one another. They put God at the center of their marriage, and the way his eyes shine when he refers to her as his “beautiful bride” is a testament to the restoration God blessed them with after he nearly ruined everything.
Prior to knowing Christ, Darren toured with a rock band in the United States for a year, indulging in every stereotypical behavior imagined with that scenario. Heidi was his fiancé at the time, living in their home country of Ireland while Darren partied his way through America, having one-night stands with the many women he encountered at his shows.
Unaware at the time as he invited strangers into his hotel rooms, Heidi was growing close to another man, as well.
His name is Jesus.
When some friends invited her to church, she didn’t know her life would be radically transformed. Heidi struggled with severe depression and a debilitating eating disorder. Jesus immediately lifted her from the grips of those struggles.
Darren, a self-proclaimed atheist, came home to a vastly different Heidi than he had left a year earlier.
He proposed to her, but not because he loved her in that moment, which he later admitted. He was unable to love anyone given how broken he was by his own sin. Still, the two of them together decided they would modify their behaviors to work towards a healthier relationship with one another, and that included going to church together.
They joined an intimate congregation where the pastor preached the same message week after week. The words didn’t touch Darren for close to a month. He sat in his pew, silent and stone-faced, not connecting to a single word of the sermon. But one Sunday something clicked. Darren said in the flash of an instant, he knew exactly who he was.
“I knew how dirty, how wretched, how sinful I really was,” Darren said. “I knew my place, and the place I deserved was death. But the gift of God is that He takes you from the place you deserve to a place of honor with Him, and so I accepted that salvation.”
Darren also knew he was being called to confess his terrible betrayals to Heidi.
As he spilled his wrongdoings, he fully expected her to call the wedding off. He never expected her to put her arms around him and say, “I love you, and I forgive you.”
It’s difficult to believe that anyone could so readily offer grace in the face of that magnitude of treachery. Yet, as God had transformed her and offered her a forgiveness she did not deserve, Heidi knew that offering a clean slate to the man she loved, as God was beginning a new work in him, was going to be key not only to their future but also his salvation.
That forgiveness is how Darren Mulligan fell in love with Jesus, and in the emotional and spiritual restoration of that moment, the cracks of the vase were sealed, and it was once again a vessel of sustenance for their union.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (ESV).
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