It’s Wednesday morning and I’m not working on a sermon. It feels weird and a little wrong. We are having our marriage retreat this weekend, and while I’m the organizer, planner, and coordinator of the whole thing – I’m not preaching, and that’s actually kind of nice. On my morning walk today, when I usually think about how I want to deal with my lesson topic, I was thinking about marriage. It’s a nice thing to think about, and after all, I do have forty-five years worth of experience making it happen and teaching about it. Oddly enough, the thought that jumped into my head was how Missouri weather is a metaphor for marriage. It’s very difficult to predict, it’s constantly changing, and it has it’s days of absolute beauty as well as days of total yuck. (“Yuck” is a deeply scientific weather term for “Get me to Florida, NOW!”)
I’ve heard so many things about marriage preached, taught, and re-preached to the point of them being meaningless. How many times have you heard, “Everyone says that marriage is a 50% – 50% relationship, but that’s wrong! It’s a 100% – 100% relationship!” I love the sentiment, but none of us give 100% to anything – certainly not our marriage. That doesn’t mean we don’t intend to do that! It just means that our selfishness and immaturity wins out – occasionally. Okay – more than occasionally! But then – after years of growing up together – we grow into a level of commitment and unselfishness that only deepens what we have.
I’ve been saying for a lot of years now that the two essential elements of a successful marriage are thankfulness and thoughtfulness. I still believe that. I just can’t decide which one goes first or which one is the most important. They feed on each other! The more thankful you are the more thoughtful you become, and the more thoughtful you become the more thankful you are and it starts all over again. It’s that simple! The only thing that makes it difficult is making the choice to be thankful and thoughtful! That’s good stuff! Not only will it preach, but it will work! Still, I have been saying it for a long time.
So here’s another thought about marriage. Here’s where my metaphorical weather thoughts come together. You can’t enjoy the gorgeous sunsets of life together without walking through some yucky days together also! It’s the storms of life that help us appreciate the sunshine of life. When we walk through the nasty, sloppy winter days together, the glorious warmth of Spring causes us to smile bigger, hug longer, and give thanks more often. It is one of the sad ironies of life that the very storm that will build a stronger marriage becomes the excuse to destroy it. Every day can’t be filled with sunshine and flowers! Just as there are yuck days in our weather, there are yuck days in our marriage. But, just like we do with those yucky weather days, when those marital yucky days hit us – we look past them and see the coming sunshine. We know it’s just temporary. We know that if we’ll just hang in there and keep living, the days of warmth and sunshine WILL come, and it will be even sweeter than any we’ve enjoyed in the past.
We get to enjoy a lot of wonderful sunshine, warmth, beautiful sunrises and sunsets together. After forty-five years of togetherness, all that happens for us in spite of the weather.
May your marriage forecast be clear to mostly godly!