I have specific memories of one particular argument that I had with Adam just a few months into our marriage. I don’t remember the specifics of what we were even upset about so it obviously wasn’t anything too terribly significant. But it was enough that I know I was upset, hurt, and angry. I hated conflict, hated confrontation, and hated the yucky emotions I was feeling…so I put on my running shoes and left the house.
It’s not that I wanted to run away from my marriage…but I DID want to run away from the fight. It felt like too much work. Like there were too many feelings to process. Like it was too risky to bare my soul and bear someone else’s needs.
Maybe the reason that memory is so fresh in my mind 9 years later is that that’s the last time Adam ever let me run. He has been the one in the midst of difficulty that pulls me close when I want to back away. The one that makes me look into his eyes when in anger mine want to look down. The one that makes me talk when it seems easier to keep quiet. Over the past 9 years, he’s given me little opportunity to reach for my running shoes when he reaches for my hand instead.
While we were on vacation with our families last week, Adam and I snuck away for an evening to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. We visited a quaint little nearby town, ate ice cream, and took a walk on a trail along the bay. That boy that stole my heart once again grabbed my hand and asked me to share some memorable moments from this past year of marriage.
This year of marriage that literally started with labor pains and ended in a different house in a different city for a different ministry. A good year. Not because it was easy and comfortable and euphoric…but because it was hard and stretching and pressed us closer to each other and closer to the Cross. There were lots of fun and happy moments to chose from…but as I dug through my mind and dusted off my memories, I also remembered the really hard moments. The moments of misunderstandings and miscommunications and taking stress out on each other and navigating through major life changes. Moments when I felt too weary to fight for us. When it was tempting to grab those running shoes and hide.
As we walked along the bay that night we saw a tent being set up for a wedding. A new bride and groom preparing to dive into this gift of marriage. We talked about our own wedding and about the time we went to jazz club on our honeymoon and spit out fancy, expensive cheese and accidentally turned my mineral water into a science experiment by adding Splenda “to make it taste better” (we’re super cultured, guys). We had laughed and felt horribly out of place, but we enjoyed the music and our time with each other. That night on our honeymoon 9 years ago, I had asked Adam to dance with me and he promised to during the next slow song. But there never was another slow song and I left disappointed. On the way back to our rental house, however, Adam pulled our rented Jeep over along the bay, turned on the radio, stepped out of the door, and asked me to dance. On that night so long ago, my heart felt like it would explode.
Nine years later as we walked and talked along another bay, hair a little more gray, faces a little more wrinkled, and feet a little more worn, Adam took out his phone, put on a song, and asked me to dance. Barefoot on the dock, we swayed to these words…
Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It’s a house we enter in
Then commit to never leave
So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We’ll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave
May God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight
But it’s something worth fighting for…
Love will come to save us
If we’ll only call
He will ask nothing from us
But demand we give our all
Yes, I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It’s worth fighting for…”
Barefoot on the dock. Heart exposed. Hand in hand. We were standing on holy ground. Continuing on in a covenant with each other meant to be a picture of the One Who fought the ultimate fight for us and continues to pursue our hearts.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:7
Love hypomenō: to remain; to abide; to not recede or flee.
Endures labor pains and hormones and sleepless nights.
Endures growing families and changing dynamics and messy houses.
Endures loss and want and gain and provision.
Endures moving boxes and grief and change and starting over.
Endures crazy schedules and crazy boys and crazy risks in ministry.
Endures harsh words and mistakes and misunderstandings and hard confrontation.
Endures expanding waistlines and shrinking bank accounts and sick days and snoring nights.
Love bears all things. Believes all things. Hopes all things.
Love endures. Love remains. Love abides.
Love ditches the running shoes and stays close, pursues, fights, and dances on the dock instead.