Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .
~ Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. Peaceful, hopeful and happy seasons of marriage and family have been punctuated with tragic death, problems with children, estranged relationships, financial stress and health issues. No marriage of duration escapes life unscathed. The bright hopes of the wedding day are sometimes obscured by the dark times of life and our own sin nature.
Our first year of marriage foreshadowed the future. Bright beginnings and tragic endings were cyclical. We moved into a new apartment, and three months later mourned the tragic death of Jill’s brother. What I would have given to have my joyful wife back during her months of grieving. The best of times turned to the worst of times pretty quickly. A few months later, still during the first year, her mother was fighting for her life as it threatened to slowly ebb away after her second open heart surgery.
Not all of the bad times were from the outside. We manufactured some of our own. Personality clashes, unmet expectations, and sex differences at times led us to view each other as beings from another planet. Words we let fly in moments of passion to express raw emotion and frustration opened wounds that took time to heal.
But, because we were of a generation and familial background that valued commitment and binding power of spoken promises, we persevered with our commitment. “In good times and bad, for better or for worse . . .”
Christmas Day 1985 was three days before our wedding. That morning Jill’s dad gifted us a car. It was a white Plymouth Volare with a red bow on the hood. As he handed over the keys he said, “The car you can return, my daughter you can’t.” His message was clear, “You better stick out the tough times, boy.”
Every marriage goes through seasons; some good, some bad. Every change is an opportunity to recommit and to renew this vow, “For better, or for worse.”
How would you characterize this season of your marriage – as a good one, or a bad one? Have you renewed your commitment to her/him? Have you recommitted to one another before the Lord?
Dear God, it was before you that we first spoke our vows. Just now we renew them. For better, for worse . . . Thank you for empowering us to persevere in this sacred commitment. May you be glorified as the One who has enabled us to do this. In Jesus’ name. Amen.