Dirty wounds is a term I became familiar with when my husband returned from Iraq. For the life of me, I could not figure out why they would not stitch up his arm and other injuries he had and let them heal.
Lucky for me, my husband had fantastic doctors and they explained to me, that when someone has an injury like his, where there was so much damage and the tearing shredding etc was done by shrapnel that was forced into him form a garbage pile with dirt, cloth other body parts some from other people etc then you cannot just stitch it up.
These are what you call dirty wounds. Unlike a basic cut you cannot just stitch them up and allow them to heal, nooooooo instead you must take them into a sterile place on a regular basis (often daily) and open the wound back up and scrub it out while cutting out any rotten and destroyed flesh so that it does not contaminate and infect the healthy tissue.
The process of cleaning and allowing a dirty wound to heal is painful, long and truthfully a bit yucky. It requires a constant examining to make sure that there is absolutely no chance that something rotten is left to in any way fester inside the body and destroy the healing process down the line. The doctor told me stories of Vietnam era wounds where they were closed up and a year later an infection would erupt that would kill the soldier from what seemed to be a healed wound.
So, what on earth am I telling you this for??? Why does it matter? Well, in marriage we can very easily close up a dirty wound and then 2 months or 2 years later have an eruption that destroys what seems to be a healthy relationship.
When a spouse wounds us with words or deed (or we do it to them) we tend to want to pretend there is no contamination or no in jury so we will simply ignore what is happening. We cannot allow deep hurts to go untouched by a physician, The Great Physician. We must bring these things, these hurts to our lord daily, hourly if need be and allow him cleanse the infected area and cut away and heal the area that is hurt in order for us to truly heal in a way that will best allow us to move forward healthy and not needing to return with a worse problem later.
Now, as a woman I often want to put these things in front of my husband and examine them in depth with him and expect him to be the one to fix them. To an extent that is OK but really, my husband does not have the ability to heal me or fix me only the Lord Jesus does. My husband can be a balm on those wounds by showing me repentance and asking forgiveness but I cannot lay at his feet the responsibility of him healing me.
I just encourage you as wives, when the wounds that are part of marriage happen, and trust me they will, that you do not try closing up a dirty wound but instead take it to your Lord allow him to take you into that sterile (Holy) place and cleanse and cut away all the bitterness, hurt and infection of that wound so that when the time comes for it to be closed it is a healthy skin there and not something simply festering under the surface waiting to blow.