We love the outdoors.
Whether it’s hiking in the Adirondacks or just walking through a nearby forest, we keep moving. It’s healthy. And it makes us happy.
Sunshine and the wind in our faces pumps our serotonin. It’s also a chance to reflect silently in each other’s companionship or have an opportunity to discuss and reach decisions.
Or simply dream dreams hand in hand.
Yet husbands and wives need to stay fully awake and alert on this path called marriage. And we need to keep moving closer to Christ and our mate.
Because marriage is more than white lace and candles and wedding words spoken in joy and anticipation. It’s more than feelings early on that make our tummies flutter and eyes gloss over the imperfections in each.
It’s thousands of nights together on a journey that takes our breath away with it’s lush beauty but also leads us over rough terrain and hard patches. Twists and turns that can derail with an unexpected detour. And us being stretched beyond what we think we can bear sometimes.
If we’re not careful we might fall. So beware of a tripping hazard called pride.
And the only way we grow relationally is within the context of relationship. Marriage is a bliss-filled challenge created by God that yields incredibly beautiful rewards like vistas lovely spread across the horizon.
But marriage is also used by God as a crucible where we are placed in the fire so our sinful, selfish stuff might be burned away. And marriage challenges us to humble so we can learn to love like Jesus.
And it can take a lifetime before we arrive at this blessed destination, hearts rightly aligned with God and our spouse.
So hold His hand tight on this lifelong journey for two in One where there is only enough light for the next step.
And grace. Always grace.
And who would ever enter the woods for a long hike without packing vital necessities so we can thrive on the trail?
In man and woman’s grandest adventure in life it’s wise to be prepared for the good and the bad by taking along the right tools and supplies for the journey.
So here’s a list my Michael and I created while out walking side by side of what to pack in a marriage backpack — and sometimes we need to REpack these things!
1. God — His Spirit and His Word that became flesh our guide.
2. A hearty dose of grace.
3. Mutual commitment — to Christ, each other and the sacred permanence of marriage.
4. Choosing upfront that the ONLY option in marriage is success.
5. Forgiveness — both in asking and offering.
6. Humble hearts that put aside hurt feelings quickly.
7. Seeking to serve our mate before ourself.
8. Laughter and fun.
9. Daring adventure — like bear whispering!
10. And maybe a little night music and dancing under the stars.
11. Dreaming together.
12. Magical intimate moments.
13. Partners NEVER going to sleep angry with one another or neglecting to say I love you.
14. Persevering as we try to walk a mile in our spouse’s moccasins.
15. Accepting each other in our many human imperfections.
16. An umbrella of sonshine in our hearts for the days that will be cloudy or stormy.
17. Hope unending.
18. Staying steady on the course when the trail gets rocky.
19. Choosing positivity in the face of negative circumstances.
20. Shared purpose.
22. Accepting the truth that some disagreements in marriage just. don’t. matter! enough to merit causing ongoing peril to our union.
23. Choosing to let some things go.
25. Honesty, authenticity and willingness to reveal our inner darkness so God can heal and set us free. Marriage can only be as healthy as both partners are healed in Christ. We become whole through holiness which increases as we obey the commands of Christ.
26. Removing the plank from our own eye before picking at the speck in our spouse’s eye.
27. Smiling because smiling makes people look approachable and makes even hard situations a little easier. A smile says you are welcome here and my heart rejoices in you and me married even if at this moment we are not in full agreement.
28. Tears of repentance, cleansing, and joy.
29. Faith to see things that aren’t as though they were. To see our marriage and our partner as Jesus sees us.
30. Absolutely no demands for perfectionism allowed.
31. Words: affirming, edifying, encouraging, and inspiring.
32. More compliments than criticisms. A lot more!
35. 1 Corinthians 13 love in action. Love stooping lower to serve.
And when we pack these good things into marriage — and put them to good use — we will look back with gratitude when we see our right footsteps on the day by day path has rendered a lasting legacy of love.
To all those that would follow after us…
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