Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THE MARRIAGE ADVENTURE

Wedding invitations.
They fill my mailbox this time of the year.

Brides have spent months making their Pinterest wedding board come to life.
Couples plan, save, and work with a fast approaching date in mind… the wedding day.

The day arrives.
The day they have been working toward and dreaming of is finally here.
The day they will stand before friends and family and make a commitment, a covenant, a promise...

"...to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, 'till death do us part.  And heretofore I pledge you my faithfulness."

The vows.
The rings.
The kiss.

A forever covenant is made.
A new family is created.

The day they spent the last several months thinking of, planning for, dreaming about, is over.  Now what?

"Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made, the prince and princess on their wedding day.  But fairy tales usually end at this point with a simple phrase, 'They lived happily ever after.'   This may be because fairy tales regard marriage as an anticlimax after the romance of courtship.  This is not the Christian view.  Our faith sees the wedding day not as a place of arrival but the place where the adventure begins." 

-Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie,
at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana

The day after your wedding day is the beginning.
The beginning of a marriage.
The beginning of an adventure.

The vows are easy to say on the happiest day of your life when you are looking into the eyes of the person you are madly in love with.  But those vows are really, really tough to live when your marriage is struggling.  When you have to choose love because you don't even feel it.

The day you make your commitment is one day.  It comes and it goes.
But, you will spend the rest of your life living out that commitment. 

Before embarking on your great marriage adventure, it is wise to do some planning.
For your health and safety, you both need to evaluate what kind of shape you are in.  The marriage adventure is a long, hard journey with unpredictable bumps in the road, so we highly encourage you to make sure you are mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even physically ready for the journey.  Find a good Christian counselor to do your pre-marital counseling and keep going even after you say your “I do’s.”

When Keith and I meet with a couple before they get married, we talk very little about the wedding and talk a whole lot about the marriage.  The adventure.  I guess you could say we agree to be their official tour guides.  A tour guide is just someone who shows the way by leading or advising and is willing to provide assistance and information to others.

"Wait!  Can't I just throw some stuff in a backpack and head out?"  Absolutely.
But keep in mind, you will have to make a lot of detours.  There are a lot of closed roads on the unprepared journey.  Roads that you are not ready for, but you will still have to take.  You see, the detours don't allow you to go around the roads that are under construction, but instead, they force you to circle around and make the necessary repairs to continue on your adventure.

If you would allow us, Keith and I would like to act as your tour guides for the next couple of weeks.  We have been living our adventure for almost 18 years, which means we have had a lot of years to make wrong turns and take unnecessary detours.  We have a lot of bumps, bruises, and even permanent scars from some of the mountains we’ve climbed and the best way we have found to redeem those tough days is to help others as they encounter the same rocky paths.

On this quick little tour, we want to point out the importance of...

…READING THE MAP.  Both of you need to study the map everyday.  The more you study, meditate on, and memorize the map, the closer you will be to the One who planned your itinerary and knows every mountain and valley along the way.

…BEING ON GUARD.  When you made a 'till death do us part' covenant to each other and to God, a target was placed on your backs.  You have an enemy that wants to 'steal, kill, and destroy' you both.  But, don't be afraid.  He is powerless against you.  The only power he has is the power you give him.  Don't give him any ammunition.  Don't open any doors or windows.  Protect yourself and your spouse.  If you find yourself stuck in one of his traps, grab your map and spend time with the One.

…BIG PICTURE THINKING.  Talk often about the destination.  It will help give perspective on those dark, foggy days when you are having trouble staying between the lines.  There is purpose in the adventure.  Your marriage is a small, but important, part of a big story that is being written.

…WORKING AS A TEAM.  This adventure is a 2-person team.  You win together and lose together.  When one gets injured, the other needs to stop and help the other back on their feet… even if especially when you were the one who caused the injury.  Each of you brings different gifts and talents to the team that the other needs.  Be quick to give redo's to your spouse because the journey can affect us differently on different days.  Be their person!

…OTHERS.  No two adventures are exactly alike, but they all have similarities.  All have mountains, hills, and valleys, but the path to them and the path through them isn't the same. You may need some outside help or back up if a serious injury occurs or if you encounter something on your adventure that has you stuck.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!  Everyone on the marriage adventure has encountered serious injuries and has bumps, bruises and scars to prove it.  Some couples do everything they can to hide their injuries, to act like their journey has been carefree, but if they are willing to be honest, they would tell you they often feel alone.  Be careful not to compare your journey to someone else's.  It will not only cause hurt and disappointment, but it will blind you from the beauty of your own adventure.

Our tour will begin on Thursday, so if you're interested, meet us back here and climb aboard the double-decker bus.  Together we will allow the One, the driver, to guide us give us His perspective.


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1 comment :

  1. Excited about this and grateful you are sharing your journey!

    ReplyDelete