Posted: February 10, 2020 by Sarah O'Sullivan, Executive Pastor
We are coming up on Valentine’s Day. My husband, Bob, and I are not a big Valentine’s Day couple, but I “love” the focus on love. Anytime is a perfect time to show love and appreciation for your significant other.
Bob and I have been married for 20 years. He immediately drew my attention that first day, not because of his looks, but because he was courageous. Bob stood up for me even though he didn’t know me. He didn’t think twice when he saw injustice and responded in a calm and confident manner, without thinking of himself. We didn’t meet for a couple of months after this initial encounter, but I wanted to know who he was.
Aren’t we always drawn to people of high character? We want to be associated with individuals we hold in high regard. I was quite enamored with Bob in our “honeymoon” years. I was in love and focused on every sweet and precious thing about him. It was easy to follow scripture during this time frame.
Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Faults? Who had faults?
My focus had been on all the good qualities and strengths. I wish I could say that remained the case. Like many of us, the “honeymoon stage” wore off. My focus, ever increasingly, turned to other things; work, school, children and worst of all, myself.
I went through a period when I lost sight of what had immediately drew me in about Bob and of God’s grace in bringing him into my life. I began to take notice of things that irritated me and areas I thought he was not measuring up to my expectations. It happened quietly and slowly but increased rapidly unchecked. Just to be clear, I didn’t wake up one day with a plan to tear down my husband and I knew that our marriage was struggling. I was sure that was “his fault” too. Now, I know it was me who had changed the tone of our interactions. I was not being loving, patient or humble.
I am so thankful for the love, grace, mercy I was shown during and after this timeframe. Thankfully, I realized it is pointless to move forward and backward at the same time. You just get tired and you don’t get anywhere. I am thankful for this scripture that helped me to accept the hand up and out of the mess I was in,
“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
I had always been known as being brave and courageous. I would define courage as bravery in action. It would take a new level of bravery to admit my flaws and faults. How had I allowed it to get this far? I had to be accountable for my shortcomings if I was going to turn away from them. I would have to have a new level of courage to humble myself and do what was necessary to allow God to restore my marriage. Fortunately, Bob had remained steadfast in the character that had drawn me to him in the first place. He was so quick to extend forgiveness, grace and mercy. In the 15 years that have followed, he has never brought up what was forgiven. He had the strength to leave the past where it belonged.
20 years into marriage and I am so thankful that God knows me completely, loves me so well, met me where I was, and provided me with the opportunity to grow. He loves all of us the same way.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. If you have a beautiful, loving relationship, thank God for it, remain focused on God first, your spouse second and yourself last. If you are struggling, know that God can restore anything that is broken and he wants to help.
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:14 NLT