“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3) Usually, the answer is yes, unless it’s a walking fight. And who wants to go on that kind of walk?
On this side of the world, we’re presently into great walking weather (give or take a few storms or over the top heated times here or there). But mostly, if you agree to walk together, it can be refreshing and enjoyable. (If you want some ideas to make it even more enjoyable, we have a Marriage Insight that can help you with that. Just go to the article titled, “Walking Together — Something Fun for Summer.“)
But this scripture is talking about another type of walking. It’s talking about mentally and spiritually walking in agreement with God and with each other. And there’s no doubt that this can be especially important in the marriage relationship.
When a couple marries, they make the vow to agree to “walk together” for the rest of their lives. Does that mean they can never disagree? Of course not! Married couples may not always agree with each other while they walk together through life, but the agreement is that they will work things out so they can keep trudging forward. Unfortunately, that’s not always true.
Agreeing to Walk Together
The assumption that spouses will continue to walk together for the rest of their lives is falling apart in more cases than we care to count. Just look at the divorces going on all around you. And even with the marriages that don’t end up in divorce, so many of them are truly unhealthy. It’s so, so tragic.
“For most couples, the love that they started with is not gone; it’s buried under years of anger, misunderstandings, and resentment.” (Quote from: My Better Marriage)
Obviously, they need to work on that, and/or get help to keep working on that if they are letting their misunderstandings bury them in anger and resentment! That seems obvious to us; but some spouses just keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. And isn’t that the definition of insanity? Yes, it is!
But other couples have allowed themselves to lazily drift apart and then they eventually just walk away. The “magic” appears to have left the relationship. This is supported in an interesting article that Mark Gungor wrote. If you or anyone else you know is dealing with this issue we highly recommend you read:
The “Glow” of New Love
Who would think this could happen when a couple is in the stage of “new love”? Haven’t most of us been there?
One of our pastors told of a wedding he and his wife attended recently. He described how romantic it was. The groom seemed to “glow” as he watched his bride-to-be walk down the aisle to join him. He said that it’s as if the whole room lit up with the love that was present in that room. I thought to myself, “I hope that light doesn’t go out. I’d like to see the groom a few years from now. Hopefully, he still beams when he looks at his bride walk into a room.”
I’m reminded of the scripture that says:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
So, we want to ask you something. Does the light of your love make a positive difference “to everyone in the house?” Do your interactions when you’re in public together give the opportunity for others to say, “I want to know their God better? If that’s what God does for them, I want some of that!” And do your actions in public and behind closed doors line up with the promises you made to each other on your wedding day?
The Agreement to Walk Together in TRUE Love
My husband Steve and I have been married for over 51 years. Most times he still lights up a room, in my heart, when he enters it. It’s not that we always glowingly walk in agreement. We don’t and haven’t. Sometimes that “light” needs our attention to restore it. That’s because we go through disagreeable times too.
But when we’re going through troubled times, we quickly look for ways to build relationship bridges, so we get back into agreement as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s a difficult journey to do this. But it’s a commitment that we vowed to do on our wedding day. It’s also something God nudges us to do because we made our vows to each other; but we also made them to Him. And He reminds us of this issue of agreement when we stray in a wrong direction.
There is a situation that comes to mind concerning this issue of agreement. Years ago, a former Vice President of the United States announced that he and his wife were going to divorce. They eventually did, stating that it was justified because they “grew apart.” We remember the waves of sadness that washed over us.
Even though we disagreed with many things about this political leader, we always thought that he and his wife were a good couple (to the degree that we could ever know). In public they appeared to complement each other with their combination of strengths. We even thought they were an admirable couple. But not now. They took that, which was great and allowed it to “drift apart.” And now, they no longer make any effort to walk together in any aspect of life. How sad!
The Message This Communicates
William Doherty, in a Psychology Today article wrote the following on this issue that we think is insightful:
“More than anything else, what concerns me about [this political couple’s] divorce is the cultural message it reinforces. It enforces that marriages, like leaking oil, drift over time in ways that we can’t do much about. It enforces that people once mated for life get caught in different currents. They wake up one day to find themselves in different seas. And then they are too far apart to feel they can be life partners anymore.
“I do not accept this sophisticated story line for modern marriage. I do not accept the baby boom divorce mantra that ‘these things happen to the best of marriages. Let’s be civilized and not show how we feel about the end of a dream.’ When it comes to divorce, I’m with the poet Dylan Thomas:
“‘Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'”
We agree. There is too much of this “drifting apart” going on. We need to fight FOR our marriages, (and not against each other), and help others do the same. Our marriages are to reveal and reflect the love of Christ —the love that Christ, the bridegroom has for His bride. That is not a “so-so” type of love. It’s a “I’m committed to stand strong to fight FOR our relationship” type of love.
On this matter of not drifting apart, Dr Steve Stephens wrote about this matter in his book, “Marriage: Experiencing the Best”:
“Someone once asked Alan Alda, the famous TV star, how he managed to have such a long and successful marriage. His answer was that most relationships begin with a ‘vibrant’ love. But they soon fade into ‘utter discontent.’ It’s easy to give up and forget that ‘love returns in waves. You just have to wait it out.’
“Alan Alda was right. Love is like the tides of the ocean. Sometimes they come in and the passion is high. You feel the love and the relationship is wonderful. Then there are times when the tide is out—sometimes way out. The relationship is dry and lifeless. The love is gone. You look out at the sea and wonder if the tide will ever return. But if you’re patient and stay at the beach, romance will return. You will feel love again.”
But it’s not just a passive waiting. (We’ve been there.) It’s a prayerful, looking up to Heaven type of wait. And sometimes it’s a hopeful, prayerful wait because your partner is on a stubborn streak. And even then, there is intentionality in looking to join hands together again when the timing is right.
Drifting Back Together in Agreement
We’re reminded of the video of the two otters who were drifting along in life and what happened afterward. Please watch this to the very end because it’s a great (and a fun) visual of what we’re describing here:
Did you see how the one otter was intentional in finding a way to hold hands together again?
We believe this is what we need to do with each other all through our married life. Staying in love isn’t as natural to us as much as “falling in love” can be. That is because of the excitement that happens in the beginning. (There are many bio-chemical reasons for this.) However, we CAN add upon and grow our love for each other, if we are intentional in agreeing to do what it takes to do that.
Sometimes, we need to be reminded of this over and over again to pay attention. So here goes. Don’t allow yourselves to go too long in different directions. Be intentional and find ways to bridge your differences. Weather the hard times TOGETHER. And look for ways to put romance back into your marriage. (We have ideas for you posted in the Romantic Ideas topic.) Dream together, plan together, walk together, and don’t buy the lie that “these things happen” —as far as marriages splitting up. They don’t have to! Fight the movement of the tide.
Commit to Walk Together
As you walk together or you are looking for ways to walk together again, here is a great truth you are to continually remember:
“Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
May it be so, Lord Jesus! Help us to live this out so it IS so!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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