Marriage–Sometimes You Wade Through Sludge Together

The other day I spotted my husband Rick wearing chest-high weighters slogging his way through our koi pond. Middle of the summer-hot. Watching him wade in the gunk, I had the most peculiar thought.

You look sooooooo cute like that!

Which didn’t make sense. He was standing in a pile of goo.

I leaned over the deck. “What ‘cha doing?”

“Pump’s stopped up.”

“Doesn’t look like much fun.”

“Has to be done.”


I remembered times when our world seemed a lot like the nasty pond.


No way out.

Too messy to tackle.

Like when our infant son died minutes after he was born. Rick did what I couldn’t do. He disassembled the nursery before I got home from the hospital. (I wrote about it HERE.)

And when a precious family member spent some time walking a prodigal path, he said what I couldn’t say. “I’m sorry. We love you too much to help you,” he told her through his tears.

Nearly ripped my heart out, but he was right.

Then there was the time when another loved one (who is bipolar) went off his medication. Started doing meth. He was in bad shape. Rick convinced him to go to the hospital. Somehow got him in the truck. Drove him to the ER himself.

Maybe that’s why he looked so cute standing in the koi pond.

Wading through sludge, you discover what real love is made of.

Because when the water finally clears, something amazing happens.

You can see straight through to the bottom

And remember what you’ve been through together.

Some of you are wading through sludge right now. I’m praying for you.















  1. Wow, GREAT messages are found in the sludge. “we love you too much to help you” brought tears to my eyes to imagine the strength of that love and character it took in that sludge. Great examples of how sludge brings out the actions of love that go much deeper than the words. Blessings to you and Rick!

  2. Anna Haney says:

    As usual, you have me awash in tears

  3. What a beautiful reminder, Julie. I love how you can find the spiritual in the everyday.

  4. Beautifully written, Julie. It touched me in so many ways and reminded me that although we all inevitably go through storms in life, there will be smooth sailing ahead, together.

  5. I love the lily pads that sprung up after the cleaning. Like us when we sludge through the tough times and come out on the other side there’s brightness and sunshine and stars twinkling even in the night–things we don’t see when sludgy blackness has blocked our vision like a stopped up pump.

    Beautiful post that reminds us that behind the clouds there is always the sun. Lovely. Thank you.

    • Love you, B.J. You brought out the lily pads. I just skimmed right over them. But aren’t the gorgeous–and in the very same pond where the muck ways not too many days ago.


  6. Sue says:

    What a wonderful analogy. After 39 years of marriage there is been a lot of sludge that has taken place and worked through together. Regarding your Blog form last week: I am lucky to be married to a “banjo player” as he helps me work through the “sludge” of current health issues, always there, quietly helping and comforting.


    • Sue!!!!!!!!!!! You’re married to a banjo player!!! I don’t personally know one! Wow–Wish you could somehow send me a video of him playing~~~

      My husband bought a banjo a few years ago…said he wanted to learn to play. Well, that hasn’t quite happened but maybe one day.

      Thank you for letting me know you get my sludge analogy. 🙂

  7. Oh Julie- what a beautiful analogy! What a blessing our hubbies are! protecting, digging, sludging 🙂 Life is sure mucky but I’m thankful He helps us dredge our ponds! hugs and thanks for sharing this. <3

    • Amen, Cindy. That’s what they do. Protect and dig through sludge.

      Hugs right back to you from Georgia.

      P.S. Talked to Ricci this morning. We both said how much we love you~

  8. Sandra Walker says:

    Right on the nailhead again! Thanks! Looking for the lily pads!

    • I’m smiling, Sandra. Sometimes it seems like those lily pads are sorta hidden like those “where’s Waldo” puzzles, but they’re there.


  9. So ♥ the clear-water analogy. Wading through sludge can give a body stronger leg muscles, too. How wonderful to be married to the one who will go through all that with you/for you. Happy koi-watching to you!

  10. You’re absolutely right, Melody. I NEVER thought of that. Strong muscles from going through sludge. So true!

    Love it.

  11. What a beautiful picture of love and marriage and going through the sludge together. We actually sludged just a few hours ago with tense words of disagreement. But praise God we will continue to sludge through until we can see clearly again.

    I love you!

  12. I’m so behind on your posts! But THIS one is my all time favorite for a million reasons. Thanks for the reminder and your photos drive your powerful message home

  13. We have waded through ALOT of sludge. Had to tell our SON that we loved him too much to help him…..after “helping” WAAAAY too much! This is a wonderful post. XO

  14. Thanks so much again for the plug! Blessings to you and yours.



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