Earlier this year I did a series on my blog called Intentional Family. Within that series there was a sub series called Intentional Marriage. It's so easy to get busy taking care of children and "life" and our marriages get put on the back burner. Then, after a few years pass, we can discover that our spouse is more like a roommate or friend than lover and partner. It's important to keep our marriage a priority, even when we're in survival mode with children and tired and overwhelmed and... there is always an excuse! But our spouse is our first ministry, above the children and housework. We must be intentional with our marriages or we won't thrive. I know this because that's where we're at right now. We've been surviving for a long time, but we both want something more. We want to thrive. We've long become roommates and friends, but we want more out of our marriage than that.
Because of that, we decided to take an intentional trip together. We went up to Yosemite for 3 days to take long hikes together. To be outside in God's magnificent creation and be overwhelmed by Him - not by our lives and the mess it's become. To see mountains, rocks and trees that were so massive, they dwarfed our mistakes and shortcomings. We were reminded that God is so much greater. God has great things for our marriage and He has the power to change us!
We hiked through the Giant Sequoias and enjoyed the crisp air and the giant trees that blew our minds! We read about one tree and decided to extend our hike to see this tree in person.
These massive trees grow to such great heights because they join forces. They grow close together and share resources. Some actually fuse their root together underground so they have a stronger foundation. One such pair in this grove is called The Faithful Couple. They've actually grown together and the 2 became 1 tree. I knew I had to see this couple in person!
We had to hike for at least another hour before we got there. The signs along the way seemed to be misleading, ".6 miles to the Faithful Couple." 20 minutes later, ".8 miles to the Faithful Couple." WHAT? It's getting father away? It didn't make sense. When we saw one couple coming down on the trail we asked them if the Faithful Couple was up ahead. They said, "yes, keep going." Time passed and we saw another couple, "Is the Faithful Couple up this way?" we asked. "Yes, it's just around the corner," they answered. But it wasn't "around the corner."
Everyone had a different idea of how far the hike was to get to the Faithful Couple!
For those hiking up to the Faithful Couple, it seemed to take forever and it seemed as though the path was getting longer and longer! But for those who had arrived and were traveling onto something else, it felt like it was "just around the corner."
Finally, we arrived!
I couldn't capture in a photo how massive and amazing this tree, or pair of trees really is.
The couple is very old and has weather several fires and storms together. There are scars all over the couple that give testimony to a rough journey they've survived.
Yet they are together. Growing stronger and taller every year. They are stronger together than they are on their own.
2 are better than 1.
At the end of my life, I want to be known as a faithful couple. We're weathering fires and storms right now, but we have the choice to fuse together and share our resources or grow apart. We've decided to buckle up and hold on tight - we're growing together no matter what.
The enemy seeks to destroy marriages. He is crafty and sly. He creeps into areas of our lives that are tiny cracks and he patiently waits for those cracks to split open in tough times and he's right there, ready to offer a quick fix or solution that in the end offers more pain. He knows our weaknesses. But if we fuse together as husband and wife, build one another up in the truth of Jesus and fuse together, we are stronger than the lies of the enemy.
God is so much greater and God loves marriage! He wants us to succeed!
The journey of marriage can seem long sometimes. It can feel like others are leaping though without problem or frustration. Sometimes it appears that there is no hope.
But that is the time to get closer, fuse together, share some great resources and watch God heal, restore, rebuild and renew your marriage.
The theme for November's Make Out Monday is
If you can get away for a few days, DO IT! If that is not realistic, then have dinner at home or go out prepared with some intentional questions to ask your spouse.
1. What is a healthy foundation for marriage?
2. What does God say about marriage?
3. What are our values for marriage?
4. What are our goals for our marriage?
Spend some time praying together and make some new commitments
to thrive together and not just survive!
Here is a great sermon series on marriage that was recommended to me
scroll to the bottom for the series on Marriage.
Perhaps your date can be listening to a message and discussing it.
Also, Family Life does great marriage retreats all over the country throughout the year. We went to one a few years ago and loved it!
Find a retreat close to you and make it a priority to work on your marriage!