“Hey, buddy.” I stroked my son’s new puppy’s silky ears. “What are you going to name him?” “Bogart.” My son said with pride in his voice. “Now, that’s an interesting name.” “Yeah, he’s not going to be a wimpy dog.” Humor With that name, I imagined my son had visions of this four-legged friend to show refined, macho traits. After crunching on his Kibbles ‘n Bits, Bogart would settle in a corner, and with a cigar between paws, give a don’t-bother-me look, and maybe between puffs, he’d sound, “Here’s barking at you, kid.”
Surprise, surprise! Bogart turned out to be a frisky, bouncing, cuddly ball of fur. And even now, beyond his puppy stage, he developed an obsessive fondness to a soft blanket. And he does something only a canine psychologist could diagnose: Clutched between his teeth, Bogart drags that blanket wherever he goes—to sleep, to snuggle on the couch. To the car. And when my son manages to yank it away from him to wash it, Bogart, with eyes glued on the washing machine, cries and whimpers until he has his security blanket. There’s not a trace of Humphrey in this four-legged Bogart.
But isn’t that the way life is sometimes? We have defined expectations of an endeavor we’re crafting, an adventure we chase, and even a relationship that flickers in the horizon. Great expectations fuel us to dive into it head first.
But, why deny it? As sure as clouds cover the sun, relationships have an element of disappointment. During thirty-two years of marriage, hubby and I crawled, dragged, limped, tumbled and scraped through rough stages in our marriage. And through it all, I figured marriages are like elevators.
Both of you enter the confinement of its four walls, anticipating going somewhere (hopefully up). But instead, you both stand rigid, arms loaded with baggage each lugged in. Body sagging from the weight, you stare blankly at each other; drained and clueless, you mouth, “Where’s the happiness?”
The happily ever after just ain’t happening! Why? Because your arms are too full with garbage you dragged all the way from your childhood. Neither has a free hand to push the button and go places. And subtly, the stagnant feeling, the stuffy sensation, and the garbage you dragged with you begin to smell. Each blames the other. While happiness waits up in the penthouse, you’re still stuck in the elevator.
We’ve been there. It wasn’t until hubby and I invited Christ into our marriage, that “I do” took on a new meaning. The “I do,” meant each one commits to the following: Divulge our shortcomings, disclose our quirks, declare our vulnerabilities, and define the source of our wounds. But more importantly, decide we’d not go at it solo. We’d invite Christ to guide the way.
Breathing relief, each one of us released the rubbish that weighed us down. And free from the load, we clutched God’s hand. And pressing the button, he led us to the top floor—the penthouse.
The three of us stepped into a luxurious pad, decorated to foster profound passion, purpose, and pleasure for a lifetime of commitment.
So, starting over with Christ as the partner in your marriage, you can step out of that stuffy elevator. And the confidence to keep going comes from this promise, “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:5-6)
Valentine’s Day cannot get happier knowing God will carry your relationship to the end. When you said, “I do,” He said, “I will.”