Marriage Celebrated

My husband and I diverted from the ordinary and took a weekend off to spend time together. Just us. Not ministry or family or reunion or business. Dale told me to decide where I want to go and plan it! Wow! We hadn't done anything like this for years, so my head was spinning!

The idea was to Celebrate Our Marriage! Joy in all God has given to us! Remember all He has brought us through in these twenty years of marriage.

Twenty years ago on our wedding day! Young and in love...

Here we are twenty years later! Still young and still in love!!!

I'll tell you a little secret. The idea of planning a weekend for us actually intimidated me and I got shy about it. It is absolutely ridiculous, I know! But I panicked over what we would do because our routine family vacation finds Dale and Julian doing their thing and Jacquelyn and I taking a different route for a good part of the day, in among the shared festivities. We've found a delightful (and sometimes annoying) arrangement that works well for the four of us. Just the two of us is not routine at all!

What do I plan for my husband and I to do together on vacation? So I revealed my trepidation to him. He has lived with me for 20 years so he knows I come up with some weird issues and fears! But we talked our way through it, resulting in an about-face on my part!

I ended up totally excited at the prospects. Whatever was I thinking? I have an opportunity to bask in Dale's attentions all weekend and I'm going to let that chance slip away? No thank you!

We had a fabulous time doing vacation our way! Not necessarily the proper romantic way but the plan that works for this husband and wife!

Marriage. What does a successful marriage look like? Isn't that what we long for from the start? Is my marriage worth celebrating?

Within my heart resides an intense desire for a marriage that brings honor to God and holds out hope for young married couples. I've made a lot of mistakes but I've found those are often the tools God uses to repair our twisted and broken ideas about life. Over the passage of years I have begun to lose my fear of failure and replace it with faith in the power of God to lead us through or over or around each obstacle we face. And there will be obstacles, of this you can be assured.

A big mistake I made was having too much confidence in my vast amount of preparation and knowledge before I ever got married. I knew so many things but had a low supply of humility. I just figured we had the tools through Christ so we had what it took for a successful marriage.
It's no wonder God had to force me to my knees over and over again.

I really can't count how many times I have toppled into a puddle of tears over failures in our relationship, even quite recently! A number of years ago it looked hopeless to me from so many angles, I wished our relationship could end somehow. Deep down, I knew I would never walk away because that was simply not an option. I also couldn't deny that God had miraculously brought us together. It just did not make sense. I was not prepared for the pain.

One thing is clear. There will be pain in any and every relationship. The important step is how I deal with it.

It seems to me one fatal mistake we make in relationships is comparing ourselves among ourselves. We see other marriages that look so much better. That husband treats his wife like a queen. That wife is so sweet, submissive, and kind to her husband. He is such a caring servant. She is an amazing example of selfless love. He never yells at his wife. She never runs over her husband.

Quite frankly, we are total misfits in the categories I just mentioned! We don't have golden trophies to hoist into the air in front of the crowd. We have failed and need a Savior!

The Bible, in 2 Corinthians 10:12, clearly says this comparing is not wise.

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

What, then, can we do to improve our own marriage? How do I keep the right perspective? Here are a few verses from Ephesians 5 that shine light on the subject, at least for me!

"Wives be subject to your own husband, as to the Lord." (v 22)

"Nevertheless, each individual among you is also to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband." (v 33)

It's pretty clear our focus is to be our OWN spouse, not other spouses. That is what I'm picking up in these verses. Somehow it clears away the rubbish and enables me to start at square one. If I am intent on finding what pleases him, instead of reshaping him to fit my pleasure, I am convinced a lot of the strife will have to cease.

I am still trying to learn this! How easy it is to live selfishly and even justify myself in it! We need to talk about our differences and figure out what works, but it doesn't always need to be my way. Sometimes my plan works; sometimes Dale's is better.

The world and the church have hundreds of ideas on how a marriage should work. But most of the helps books only bring condemnation for me because I am unable to walk it out in everyday life. I'm strange that way!

What is the missing link to success?

I have found it to be continual surrender to Jesus Christ and leaning on Him for the strength to fulfill His plan. I cannot. Jesus can. He's promised to give me His power if I ask and trust Him.

When I make yet another blunder, Jesus can still be trusted. When I think I am trusting Him yet totally miss the mark, He is still faithful to pick me up and set me on course if I allow myself to go back and trust.

I absolutely have to make time to talk with my husband. When communication breaks down our marriage begins to crumble. I will lose out if I bury my questions and pains inside and let them fester. Marriage is a sharing of pleasure as well as pain. This is about a relationship with the person I love more than anyone else in the world!

Is that not the pattern with Christ and the Church? As we surrender to Christ, talk to Him and truly build a relationship, and seek to please Him alone, our lives become a beautiful harmony with God.

In the Bible, God actually compares (and here's a good kind of comparison) Christ and the church to a marriage between husband and wife. Ephesians 5: 25-32 talks about it.

It is possible to have harmony within our hearts toward each other. We can work out our differences.

There is reason to Celebrate Marriage!


  1. So true...Curious what you did on your vacation? Tim and my interests can differ greatly too, but somehow we usually find a happy medium. He's planned some things he knew I would enjoy and often ends up enjoying them more than he thinks he will!

    1. We went to Cleveland and got a lovely hotel room in a historic building (Yay, hardwood floors and 16 foot ceilings and 12th floor!) for two nights right in downtown. We walked to Mallorca, where they have foods from Spain and Portugal on the menu, and we absolutely loved the food and ambience! That walk was a concession to me on Dale's part because he still has a lot of pain if he's on his feet. But we got to see some of the city!

      The next morning we drove to the lakefront (Erie) and did some sightseeing. I did most of the walking there on my own :) We got drinks at Starbucks and drove around the city looking for a bookstore (according to gps) for the longest time but to no avail. So we ended up at a huge mall downtown and I shopped a bit.

      Some plans worked, some didn't, but the best part was being together alone! Dale told me to plan it and claimed he's happy doing whatever I want to do! I hope we don't wait another 8 years to do it again :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your marriage journey, Karyn, in an open and honest way. Communication is so vital in any relationship, but especially in a marriage. Lack of it, or improper use of it, has been a glitch in our marriage and is something that has to be continually worked on. Appreciated the reminder to continually surrender to HIM! Blessings to you!

    1. I agree with you, Brenda! Communication is something we keep trying to do "the right way" and we are still learning. Many years ago, Dale told me not to worry so much because we have forever together…everything is not going to be perfect immediately, but that's alright, we will keep growing together!


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