My wife and I love to take walks together. Most of the time we walk along well-defined or even asphalt walking paths in many of our great parks, but occasionally we venture off into the trails that abound in our “natural State”. Some trails are better maintained than others and are well-defined. Others are barely visible, overgrown with brush, grass and whatever else grows there. These trails are much more difficult mentally and physically because we have to focus on where we’re going, and then on the terrain and dangers ahead.
The last time we were walking a trail like this, I was reminded how our marriage has been a similar adventure. What I supposed would be a four-lane highway, or at least a well-marked concrete hiking trail – turned out to be a much more difficult journey. Marriage has given me a much greater appreciation for the early American pioneers. Having no idea what was ahead of them, they bravely set out in a general direction to find the life they had dreamed of. They had no highways, railroads, asphalt trails, or even foot paths to follow. They were the trailblazers themselves. Did they have a clue what lie ahead of them? If they had, would they have gone?
Most young couples have no clue either. Statistically, most have not grown up in a biological father and mother home. They grow up with a single parent and/or a step parent. They, like me, never actually witness what a stable, Biblical, fulfilling marriage looks like. They get glimpses of what marriage might be by visiting friends or relatives homes and by watching TV and movies (which portray marriage is a deliberately miserable light).
I had no clue that the marriage trail would be so unmarked and difficult. I assumed that because we knew each other well, and loved each other deeply, that this would be all we needed. Man, was I wrong. Marriage is hard work, and the way is not well-marked as you look around you. I am so glad we both have a Map that has shown us how to navigate the trail and warns us of dangers along the way. Without it, we would have certainly wandered off and perished in the wilderness.
If you’ve been married longer than a week or two, you are already aware that you have your own pioneer journey ahead of you. The great news is – God brought you two together to walk it together. After nearly 40 years on the trail I can tell you the dangers are many, but the adventure is far more rewarding. There are times when you feel you can’t go any father and other times when the views make the trek so worth it. Best of all – God is there. Every step, every hill, every valley – He is there. That is what is so exciting. Walking with Him, listen as He tells us which fork in the road to take, what dangers lie ahead and how to avoid them.
We meet God in the woods. We need Him there much more than when we walk on the asphalt. Don’t fret that your marriage isn’t smooth sailing. Don’t fear the woods. Read 1 Corinthians 7:28 and rest in the fact that God promises married folks “will have many trials/troubles in this life”. Marriage is God’s ultimate plan for making us depend on Him. Marriage was never intended to be lived apart from God.
Draw near to Him, listen, and keep walking where He tells you to go. The journey is worth it.
Still on the trail,