After 20 years of marriage, Shannon and I finally got to do something we have been talking about for several years. We renewed our wedding vows in a ceremony on the beach.
It was a very sweet and private affair. Just Shannon, me, the minister, the ocean and sand, and God.
During the ceremony, the minister said to us, "After 20 years of marriage, I'm sure you two have been through all kinds of stuff." To which we both very romantically gazed into each other's eyes.....and laughed out loud.
We have definitely been through some "stuff." To say the least.
All marriages go through "stuff." That's an absolute given. It's how you handle the "stuff" that life throws at your marriage that makes the difference between the marriage ending or lasting.
A lot of people like to compare "stuff" in marriages. Since we have made it for 20 years, many people assume that our "stuff" wasn't as difficult as their "stuff," so that's why our marriage has lasted this long.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We have had to work through our "stuff" just like every one else. Nothing worth having in this life is easy. Nothing. Even good marriages.
In the Book of Matthew, there is the story about the wise and the foolish builders.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
If you look closely, you'll notice in these verses that the storms the two houses faced were exactly the same. The only difference was their foundations.
God doesn't want us to focus on the storms in our marriage; He wants us to focus on our foundations.
If God is the foundation in your marriage, you can weather any storm.
The rain can come down.
The streams can rise.
The winds can blow.
But with God as your foundation, your marriage can still stand.
Shannon and I are living proof of that.
We are by no means a "perfect" couple. There is no such thing this side of Heaven. However, we are a perfectly flawed couple, weathering the storms that life throws at us together with God.
During our vow renewal ceremony, the minister said, "You two are promising to love each other for always."
The preacher did not know this, but around my neck was a necklace that I purchased to wear for that special day. It was a little silver heart on a chain with the word always inscribed on it.
Always is now our new favorite word.
The verses on our rings are from Solomon 6:3. "I am my beloved's. My beloved is mine."
This post is not to judge anyone that has had a marriage end due to the storms that happened in their life, but to encourage those of you who are or who one day will be in a marriage to not compare the storms you face in your relationship to the storms of any other couple. Focus only on your marriage and the foundation on which your marriage is built. Work on weathering the storms together with God.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Later in the evening after our vow renewal, we received the disc of all of our pictures from the ceremony. Imagine our surprise as we were scrolling through all of them and saw this one.
It's our personal favorite.
I once read that what makes a fairy tale so wonderful is not the absence of dragons....but the slaying of them.