Valentine’s Day and anniversaries are often viewed as a barometer for our romantic relationship. But it’s NOT roses and romance a couple days a year that define a relationship — it’s the deep commitment to fight for connection no matter what.
— ROUND 1 —
Jim’s and my 25th anniversary evening was an adventure to say the least. It started out with 40 m.p.h. winds, which made our much-awaited evening on Lake Minnetonka more than a bit dicey in our little boat. We headed for land and made a wonderful camp fire.
Once we were finally settled, we asked each other this question: “What would be important in our relationship moving into our next 25 years?” And that led to some serious disagreement, our first in a long time. Tensions rose.
How could this be happening on our 25th anniversary night?! Why NOW!?
An idyllic renewal of our vows was no longer on the agenda, nor singing the song I’d composed for Jim. The argument lasted all evening, and felt like one of our darkest moments as a couple in years.
But several times during our difficult discussion I remembered the truth that “God is just as present now as he is in the joy-filled times.” After extended conversation that stretched into the next morning, we identified what we each could work on, and prayed together for God’s grace and encouragement.
— ROUND 2 —
The following Saturday night we took a second crack at it.
It was an exceptionally warm night, with a gentle breeze, near a cliff overlooking a sunset. We renewed our vows and I sang the song I had written for Jim. Peaceful. Idyllic. But the intensity of the joy came from knowing we had persevered through a trial together.
So what are the lessons in this?
- God’s wonderful love and mercy invades our messes.
- God’s grace also gives us do-overs and second chances – it’s the heart of the gospel!
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
So when you are discouraged over difficult conflict with your spouse or child and God’s tangible blessing seems to be a distant memory, know that He is so very present, loving and full of mercy for you.
And claim your right to a “do-over.” Persevere until you have true heart re-connection with your loved one. Too many marriages and families slowly drift apart from unresolved conflict and growing resentment. We’ll never have perfect relationships this side of heaven, but we can have true reconciliation.
So we challenge you to define your relationship not by cards and roses, but by a deep seated commitment to fight for connection no matter what. It is part of the rich heritage of grace that God has for you.