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. Jim planned a boat outing on a nearby lake, and packed sumptuous hors’ d’oeuvres. I had composed a song about the joy of our journey and would surprise him when the mood was right. As we hit the lake the wind kicked up and was soon blowing 40 MPH! This hampered our ability to freely cruise the shoreline, so we headed for the protected side of an island and made a wonderful campfire.
Once we were finally settled, we tackled a tough question, hoping to deepen our sense of closeness; “How would we want our relationship to grow moving into the next phase of our marriage?” A good question perhaps, but we gave no thought to the fact that our marriage is not yet perfect, and a question like this may result in some disagreement and tension. Which it did. BIG TIME! The discussion turned into our most tense argument in years. Two hours later we were still arguing. Darkness and rain fell, the wind kept howling — all symbols of our current state.
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.
But several times during our difficult discussion I remembered the truth that “God has so much mercy for our struggle. He’s just as present now as He is in the joyful times.” After returning home we continued to wrestle with our challenges late into the night and then resumed the discussion 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 a perfect evening. Jim again prepared some amazing food and the gentle breeze brought symbolic comfort to our picnic on a bluff overlooking the lake and sunset. We renewed our vows and I sang the song I had written for Jim. Peaceful. Idyllic. But knowing we had persevered through a trial together brought even more intensity to the joy we felt that night.
— WHY DO WE SHARE THIS STORY? —
God is with you in your struggle.
God’s wonderful love and mercy invades our messes. When you are discouraged over difficult conflict with your spouse, child, or loved one, 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.
Claim your right to a do-over.
God’s grace also gives us do-overs and second chances – it’s the heart of the gospel! (1 Corinthians 6:11) Persevere until you have true heart re-connection with your loved one. Too many marriages and families drift apart little by little due to unresolved conflict and growing resentment. We’ll never have perfect relationships this side of heaven, but we can have true reconciliation when we make a commitment to fight for connection no matter what. It is part of the rich heritage of grace that God has for you.