I have a picture hanging in my bedroom of my husband and I standing in the middle of a road in Maui. We were exploring the island and happened upon a quiet road with a spectacular backdrop. I asked Aaron if we could take advantage of the photo opportunity to capture what we saw. He spent a few seconds setting up the timer and positioned our camera in the middle of the road then he ran to my side and grabbed my hand.
Here is that photo:
If you have read my story detailed in The Unveiled Wife book, you know that my husband and I struggled in our first few years of marriage – so much that we almost called it quits. We saw the opportunity we had to visit Maui as a refresher….a gift that would stimulate our love life and help us redeem the love we felt was fading. We both anticipated the adventure as one that would save our marriage.
And if you recall from the book, our experience there was not what we were hoping for. Maui didn’t solve our problems.
It was heart crushing to be in paradise, yet feel burdened by the issues that plagued our relationship. Our return home from Maui left a gut wrenching feeling that we would be considering divorce soon.
Thankfully, in the weeks following that trip to Maui, God showed up in a hand full of ways to save our marriage. He was the One to provide a miracle that would change our relationship forever!
Years later, as I look upon this photo of us in Maui, framed and hanging in our home, I am reminded of a few things:
The vantage point says a lot.
Two roads narrowing down in size to what looks like a specific point, the place where we were standing. When I consider the marriage journey my husband and I have been on, I can say I have not been the best at embracing our lives merging together as one. It has been a challenge to learn how to be husband and wife, how to live together as one and on the same page, how to have mutual respect for one another, and how to face any circumstance as a team. I love the perspective of this photo and the time in which it was taken because it reminds me of where we came from to where we were heading in our relationship, despite not knowing how things would unfold.
Be hand-in-hand despite marital issues.
My husband and I faced many hardships in our marriage. Our intimacy issues only amplified with every other conflict that came up. Regardless of what we were confronted by, we were able to stand side-by-side, hand-in-hand. Having that type of friendship helped us through those excruciating moments of disappointment. I will always desire to remain by my husband’s side and hold his hand, permanently placed and refusing to give up, even if the temptation to give up overwhelms. The obedience of staying true to our commitment to marriage, going through it all together, hand-in-hand, has blessed our marriage.
We can’t escape our pains.
This photo reminds me that we cannot escape our pains and I don’t think God wants us to. One huge lesson I have learned on this journey with my husband and God is that our bad circumstances can be used for good. Of course, this is a perspective I now hold in hindsight and it motivates me to endure anything in our future. It also reminds me to be aware of how destructive expectations can be if left unmet. Instead we must pursue goals and desires with hopefulness and faithful prayers, but willing to embrace whatever may come. i have also learned that by trying to escape pain, it leaves raw wounds open, where as God urges us to fearlessly face those things so that He can heal us.
Marriage is a journey of togetherness. We will encounter good times and not so good of times, but we will endure it all together. What we face will make us stronger, it will test us and teach us, and if captured – such as in this picture – it will encourage us to hang on to what we have! There is incredible value in having the right perspective, God’s perspective. Part of our journey of togetherness includes the presence of God in our marriage and drawing close to Him as a couple. We would never have made it through the hard times if it wasn’t for God!
There are good times.
– Lara Casey, Editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings and author of “Make It Happen”Buy Book $12.99
Regardless of our struggles, we simultaneously had an extraordinary adventure that included some really good times. We must not let the negative circumstances overshadow the truth that there is good to be thankful for. Specifically during our visit to Maui, we had the opportunity to explore the island, we traveled the road to Hana, we witnessed the seven sacred pools up close, we snorkeled, we laid on the warm sandy beaches, we swam inches away from massive sea turtles, we swam close to one another which was romantic, we saw the sun rise over Haleakala, and we dressed up to experience our first luau. There will always be good times amidst the pain. Keep your eyes open and your heart thankful for the good. It will help you carry on through.
Do you have a photo that speaks volumes to you about the state of your marriage and what you have learned about being married?
If not, take the next opportunity you have to capture a photo with you and your husband.
Take your photo and evaluate it, pray over it and ask God to show you what all marriage means and the significance of the trials you have been through, as well as the good you have encountered together. Write it all down somewhere to keep and reflect on! Be sure to hang that photo up in your home so you can be inspired by it to continue loving and maturing as a spouse.