Hello, my dear friends! How I missed you this past week. I shared in my last post that my hubby and I were off to a get-away to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and have some R&R. Our destination?
Yes, truly and for real. This was our first time to visit this tropical paradise. We loved every bit of our time there to reconnect, relax and recharge. Okay, so that’s three “R”s instead of just R&R. But we are talking about Hawaii here.
This not so brave girl did things like Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP), kayaking, hiking in the rainforest to a waterfall, swimming in aforementioned waterfall, and traipsing around a chocolate farm (I know, such a hardship to taste new-to-me fruits and chocolate, but I managed to plug through...)
We packed a lot in our 5 days there. Even managed to coerce my hubby to take one afternoon to sit in a lounge chair by the beach and read his Kindle. (i.e. let your wife catch her breath.)
But there’s one day I want to share with you because it so closely captures what we walk on a daily basis in our mismatched marriages and how God can take our difficult moments and turn them into blessings.
On our first day out I made the mistake (can I call it that lightly?) of bringing up God and creation. I think I was just so enamored with Kauai and the sweet gift of a Zebra Dove God sent in my quiet time to coo and spread his tail feathers at me. Right at my feet! Okay, that’s a story for another day.
So here we are in our Jeep rental with the top down and the Hawaiian breezes blowing through our hair and the vibrant colors of tropical flowers tickling our senses—how could I not think of God, right?
I start sharing because I’m thinking this is an opportunity for me to move toward him. To show him I’m willing to keep an open mind about God’s creation and how it all came about. I’m expecting that we’ll have this amiable conversation that will draw us closer, which is the whole point of our trip.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. He politely shut me down, saying he doesn’t want to have an argument.
What just happened? That’s not what I expected. My feelings are now hurt because my effort to meet him part way has been met with a roadblock. I really and truly thought this would turn out so much better. I withdraw and try to explain why I brought it up and he now feels horrible for upsetting me.
Have you been there? Or is a better question, how often have you been there?
Perhaps my efforts were also about defending my faith, which I sometimes still feel I need to do, even though I don’t. Or more likely, was I trying to defend God as Lynn talked about in yesterday’s post?
These are tough moments in our mismatched marriages. They’re places we can get stuck and ruminate in our hurt and feel misunderstood. It’s not easy to move past them, but I was determined to not let this ruin our day or even our trip.
Because here is what happened later that day. My husband and I headed to the northern part of the island in Princeville and found new wedding bands. My husband wanted do what we’d done on our 10th anniversary—we replaced our gold bands for silver and turquoise to commemorate our trip to Arizona.
We now have new bands that are tungsten with a center band made of Koa wood, which stands for boldness, strength and fearlessness. We exchanged rings on the beach the next morning in front of a gorgeous sunrise.
What’s my point? In just a matter of hours, my marriage picture shifted from one extreme to another. The best way I can describe this is to think of these moments as pictures in a scrapbook filled with images and memories. The idea is to move among these pictures that are held in a book that binds it all together. Not one specific picture is the entire book, nor does it likely define the entire album. And those blurry and not so great pictures? I know I don’t include the ones that are out of focus, have a finger hanging in them, or my eyes are shut. I want to leave room for the best pictures. The ones that capture the heart and meaning of the moment.
When we focus on just one picture, one aspect of our marriage like our spouse’s unbelief or difference in belief or whatever that may be for you, we miss the moments of blessings that God so desperately wants to bring to us, to bless us, to bless our spouse, to bless our marriage.
This album—the binding and the pages—is God’s presence and spirit weaving in and around, bringing everything in our lives together in this collection of memories, experiences, spiritual growth, and everything that defines and builds our lives and marriages. He is the one who holds it all together, whether our prebelievers know it or not!
Doesn’t that just blow you away? Our loved one’s choice to not follow or trust God right now doesn’t diminish or preclude God’s power or presence in our lives and marriages. Let that truth sink in deep into your heart, my precious friends. I want so much to pour that hope into you more than anything.
A moment in my hands and control ended in grief, but God brought it full circle and turned it into what I’d hoped for—a moment of connection and meaning. It just didn’t need to be focused on our faith differences. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your prebeliever is to not define your marriage by your faith disparity. And in keeping your focus on God instead, you give Him the gift of trust, which is another way to worship Him. There’s even a gift in there for us—living in peace and even joy because we know who’s really in control and we’re not worrying about our spouse’s state of belief.
God is there. God is BIG! And God is working. Believe it! Trust it. Even when you don’t see it. Rest in the truth of God and His love for us. Nothing is bigger or stronger than that.
Like 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
God’s love always prevails. Always. And it’s always, always, always about His love. Jesus is our greatest testimony to that.
Praying & believing, Dineen
Lynn, I couldn't stop reading this book! It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean. Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb