Get the Picture?
Gordy and I have been married for nearly 36 years. Each and every time I reflect on nearly four decades of marital bliss—I am amazed that, in spite of ourselves, we’ve made it so long!
To celebrate our 35th anniversary last year, we took a family trip abroad. With each snapshot in front of a European landmark, my heart leapt as I visualized each memory that brought us to this moment. Thirty-five years earlier, I could not have imagined a more compatible partner. THEN, as we knew it would, life happened: college, careers, children and choices. Hopes and dreams, shattered—fulfilled. Goals and plans, toppled—conquered. Needs and desires, unmet—met.
Years later, standing in a foreign country for family photos, we had long since learned this: what really counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility! The mystery of marital romance and intimacy isn’t that it happens without effort—it is our ability to choose to stay engaged when it is no longer easy. It’s about choice.
Earlier in Ephesians 5, Paul advises that we “Be very careful, then how you live—not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (15-16). My paraphrase: Choose wisely! Through Christ Jesus, we have been promised abundant living (John 10:10). What do the choices we make for our marriages have to do with this promise?
Early in our marriage, I believed that my marital happiness was dependent on Gordy’s ability to meet my every need. Youthful naïveté? Self-centered pride? Do I even need to ask? Thankfully, he patiently chose covenant—giving me time to mature! Still, we had more lessons to learn. Like many people, we have experienced life in a very real way during our years together: damaging conversations, heart-shattering disappointments and unexpected conflicts—each gave us the choice to make the most out of every opportunity! Perhaps the greatest outcome of love and respect is the ability to choose to forgive. Now that’s abundant intimacy!
ReflectionHusbands, do you know what makes your wife feel loved? Wives, when does your husband feel respected? Is it time for a heart-to-heart conversation? Choose this day to make it a priority to check in with one another. Strengthen your intimacy by risking vulnerability: are there unpardoned hurts, unintentional indifference, or unconscious neglect? Enrich your relationship by tearing down the walls! Make the most out of every opportunity—good and bad—for we are guaranteed both. May our marriages be an iconic picture of abundant loving.
This devotional was written by Diane Viere.-originally published in LifeLINE Devotionals, Woodridge Church