Roots for a firm marriage foundation
|Forest scene, Colorado Rocky Mountains. (c) Brown, 2017|
How can two young people make a commitment to love and honor one another for a lifetime? Who can know what troubles and joys the years bring and the changes that result? Who can know what it takes to build a relationship and commitment that lasts? Who is that wise and foresighted?
Few marriages seem to last any more. Promises are strained and broken. Vows are whispered joyously and later forgotten or angrily cast aside. Seasons change and people change. So, how can two people build a relationship that can weather the changes? How can anyone know?
In 1975, when David and I were good friends and becoming more, I didn't know the answer to these questions. More than forty years later, after as many years of marriage, four children and ten grandchildren, I still can't predict the future any better than I could when I was young.
Over the years both David and I have changed, a bit here, a lot there, and our relationship has adjusted, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Yet, here we are. Still married. Who would have bet their paycheck on that outcome in 1975? I was so afraid, I wouldn't have. And yet, we leaped. Holding God's hand.
We didn't know. We hoped. We hoped and we prayed, and appreciated and misunderstood, and broke and mended, and fought and forgave, and loved, and chose, and showed up, and worked on the work of each day what we could, one day at a time.
The actions, reactions and choices of each day have added up into years and decades.
The foundation of love and decision before God, family and friends, prayed over, cried over, sweated in worry over, trembled over in faith and hope -- that foundation still stands. Yesterday. Today. And, hopefully, for many tomorrows to come, as long as we both shall live.
And from that ancient foundation has grown a lifetime of memories that still bears fruit.
Why should what was begun in our lives so long ago still last while so many other relationships around us have fallen? We aren't smarter or stronger or more capable that those around us. No superhero outfits hang in our closet. As we are able, we use the nutrients of God's love and the knowledge of His ways. That is how we continue to build and enjoy what a caring God has allowed to grow in our lives. One day at a time.
We know in this unstable, unpredictable world that disease, disobedience or a mighty storm could topple and destroy in a moment what has taken so long to build; but, we build anyway, knowing that in standing or in freefall, we can find rest in the love of God who cares for us and is at work within us, individually and together. For we live by faith, not in ourselves, but in the goodness and mercy of God, with us and within us, helping us in whatever has been, is, and will be.
And as I look back across the years, in the clarity of hindsight, I see what I couldn't see clearly before -- God's wisdom and mercy at work.
How About You?
What do you think helps a relationship weather the storms of life? Please share by leaving a comment.