So here it is the middle of February. In West Virginia, February always feels like the longest month. The sun hides most days and the temperature hovers right above freezing which means cold rain, cloudy skies, and a lot of ugh. And moods can be just as damp and dreary as the weather.
But then, of course, there's Valentine's Day! Now that should be a highlight, right? Eh, not necessarily. Despite the abundance of cute valentine posts coming up on your newsfeed, lots of relationships are struggling. Have struggled. Will struggle. Why is that? Why are relationships so hard? Why is marriage difficult even when you really love your spouse?
I know why. The answer is simple yet not easy. It's because we are human. And with humanity comes imperfection. And with imperfection comes both insecurity and pride. And with those come a whole truckload of other faults and weaknesses and frustrations and... well... that's why relationships are hard. Because a relationship is between two selfish, flawed people. It's not you, it's me. It's not me, it's you. Okay, it's both of us.
A couple years ago, Chad and I were discussing our marriage and how we got to where we are now. What did we do wrong and what did we do right? And we began to wonder... how do we intercept other marriages before they fall apart? How do we speak into the hearts of a couple before their marriage is marked by pain and hurt and contempt? What would we say to someone when their relationship is still pretty good in hopes of keeping it that way? And would they listen?
This was the impetus to a study that we wrote last year called Together: Six perspectives of the marriage you want. We compiled insights from books we read, counsel we received, and God's directions through his Word. We shared and discussed our findings with our small group. Then we led two other groups of couples through these six perspectives. Now, this month, we are teaching Together together on Sunday mornings. It has been so much fun to share the stage with this man to whom I have been married for almost 21 years.
We started February off discussing the perspective of Eye to Eye and how to agree on the purpose of marriage. Then we talked about being Ear to Ear and how to effectively communicate our needs and expectations for the relationship. The third sermon highlights the perspective of Fist to Fist and that it isn't if we fight but how we fight that matters. Next Sunday we share what it means to be Back to Back as well as Shoulder to Shoulder. Finally, as a bonus, we will discuss the perspective of Bellybutton to Bellybutton at a Married People event at River Ridge Church on March 13th. I would love for you to take a few minutes to listen or watch online here.
Would they listen? That's the last question we asked ourselves and the one to which we don't have an answer. But I hope so. I hope people are willing to see areas for growth in their lives. I hope we don't think we are too good... too old... or too far gone in our relationships. I hope I am always willing to listen and learn, even when I don't see major problems in my life. Because I don't just want to be married for 50+ years. I want to be happy and enjoying life with Chad for years to come. Whether the skies are gray or full of sunshine. Valentine's Day or not.
you are my sunshine. my only sunshine. you make me happy when skies are gray.
you'll never know, dear, how much I love you. please don't take my sunshine away.