Celebrating an anniversary will often cause us to reflect deeply. Allie and I have just returned from a vacation, which we had planned as a celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary (an early celebration—our actual anniversary is May 7). To some, fifteen years might not seem very long. A few years back, I attended the 65th wedding anniversary of a couple within our congregation. A few couples at St. Giles Kingsway have celebrated 60 years of marriage, and a few more have celebrated 50 years of marriage. I marvel at those numbers, recognizing the mutual investment that is required to keep a marriage strong.
After 15 years of marriage, I hardly consider myself an expert—particularly since I am the type of person who learns things the hard way. Most everything I do know about what makes for a good marriage I’ve learned from my missteps and my mistakes. One of the things I have noticed, interestingly, is that many of the ingredients required to keep a marriage strong are needed to keep our relationship with God strong. Below are a few things I noted from this past week away, and the corresponding principles which will help our relationship with our spouse and with our Lord:
Event: A friend upgrades our travel accommodation.
Corresponding principle: Our relationship with our spouse, and our Lord, may be deeply personal but it is nonetheless important to welcome the help of friends to support these relationships (see Prov. 27:17).
Event: We participate in the safety drill on Celebrity Century.
Corresponding principle: Don’t pretend as if bad things can’t happen. Have a game-plan to keep the relationship strong when challenges come (see James 4:7,8).
Event: We visit the Key Lime pie factory in Key West first thing in the morning and eat a slice of pie.
Corresponding Principle: Routine is good, but don’t be afraid to step outside of the box. Don’t place unnecessary limits on the relationship (see Eph. 3:20).
Event: Allie wants to walk a great distance (in scorching heat) to Hemingway’s house. This holds zero interest for me. We still go.
Corresponding principle: It’s not always about what I want. Relationships thrive when I don’t insist on my way (see Rom. 12:10).
Event: Allie and I attend a comedy show.
Corresponding principle: Laughing together is healthy and helpful for relationships.
Event: Allie and I spend virtually every moment of 7 days together (this NEVER happens).
Corresponding principle: Quality time together is essential for a relationship to thrive (see John 15:4, 5).
This past week has not only refreshed my marriage relationship, but it has reminded me of the priority of my relationship with Jesus. I don’t want to ever take my relationship with Him for granted. More than anything else on this earth, I want THAT relationship to thrive. And I pray that each of you reading this will experience the blessing that comes from abiding closely to Jesus.