ne night a young husband dreamed that he and his wife were walking along a long dirt road. It was the path of their lives as they headed toward heaven. The road wound through a valley surrounded by hills. It was beautiful, quiet, and they rarely saw anyone else for long. It was a great place to talk and find peace.
They walk together, side by side, staying on the same road, experiencing the journey at the same time, as one. They’re following a set of footprints made long ago. They know these mark the only safe path. The road twists and turns around sharp curves, often leading out of sight very quickly. Sometimes they look off in the distance and think their path is clear and straight up ahead, but when they get closer, they discover it turns sharply to one side just before a deep ravine where a bridge once was. There’s a road on the other side, but it’s not theirs. The footprints confirm as they get closer. No matter how hard they try, they can never tell what may be around the bend, but they don’t give it a moment’s thought. This time is theirs and they’re going to cherish it.
The valley’s hills cast tall shadows on their path. As their path leads out of the sunlight and through a cold shadow for a while, he reaches for her hand, and they both enjoy the shared warmth found in their loving connection. After a while, the path brings them back out into the warmth of the sunshine.
Their journey leads gently uphill. It’s never too difficult for them, but they sometimes start to grow weary. Each time one of them does, the other encourages them along, offering a helping hand to ease some of the work.
They walk past many other paths, each leading in its own direction. Some of these are much wider and lead downhill. These paths look much easier and it’s sometimes very tempting to change direction, but they continue on the path they’ve been given. They know the footprints they’re to follow.
A dear friend comes up a side road and walks with them for a few minutes, telling them about a new destination he’s on his way to, asking them to go with him. They politely decline and ask him to join them instead. They enjoy his company but must continue onward, knowing there is but one path that has the footprints they must follow. They hope he’ll join them on their journey, but He’s too excited about this other, easier path, and soon heads off on a wide road that leads downhill.
As they watch their friend walk away, they turn ahead to their path. It’s steeper ahead and leads through a dark and shadowy place. A cold wind pushes against them as they walk forward, trying to steer them along their friend’s path. They’re tempted to turn, but they remind each other of the footprints they’re to follow. They talk about the warmth they’ve known and will know again. It keeps them pushing forward.
In the dark shadows, many rocks stick out of the road just high enough to catch their feet if they don’t tread carefully. It’s slow-going. The rocks want them to stumble, fall, and stop moving forward, but each time one person stumbles, the other reaches out for their hand before they fall and steadies their mate. Over and over again they catch each other.
Just when they think they can’t push onward any further, they see a tiny spot of sunlight in the distance. As they near the sunlight and turn the corner, the delicious light warms their skin again. Their path ahead is straight and flat leads through a meadow filled with flowers. What a sweet blessing to feel. It’s warmer higher up. A gentle breeze makes moving forward almost effortless; a reward for pursuing the steep path.
As they bask in the golden light, they are now stronger for having been through the darkness together. The view here is breathtaking and they pause for a moment to soak it in. The flowers freely offer their fragrant aroma, adding sweetness to the beauty. They memorize every detail, knowing the memories of these moments will carry them through the next dark time.
When we walk forward on the path of marriage, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Walk together
- Follow the marked path
- We only choose our own path
- It’s a winding road
- Hard times happen
- Sometimes we trip
- It’s tough but doable
- Enjoy the beauty
- Always remember God’s provision
In a healthy Christian marriage, a husband and wife walk together, side by side on the path of their lives. By staying on the same road at each other’s side, we experience the same things at the same time. When we walk close together in life, we can find the warmth in our spouse’s company as we hold hands in the cold shadows.
Christ has marked the path that’s right for us in our lives. There are lots of detours that we come upon. Some look very tempting and much easier. Whether or not we understand, we must trust the path given to us–it’s the only safe way forward. When both husband and wife have active and regular time with God on their own (and together) discerning the right path together becomes easier.
Friends may walk with us for a bit. We should enjoy their company while they’re with us. They may eventually leave down a different path if they don’t support the path God has given us. It’s sad to see them go, but we can’t let that distract us from where we’ve been called to go.
Very often, we can’t see very much of the path in front of us. Sometimes it looks clear where we’re going and we think we have the best plans, but the path suddenly makes an abrupt turn. That’s okay–just encourage each other and keep following the path anyways.
Sometimes the path goes through dark places and we’re walking forward against a strong wind. We may experience illness, lose a job, or lose a loved one. In these hard times, it’s our job to keep each other from falling and not give up. We may slow down as we struggle, but we ultimately keep moving onward.
Lots of rocks stick out of the ground, just high enough to trip us. By taking the journey as a team, we can catch each other before we fall.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Even in the dark times, staying together and walking onward eventually leads back into the light. God never gives us more than we can handle, though sometimes it feels like we reach our limits. That’s how we grow as individuals and couples. After moving through a dark season, we become stronger.
When a tough season is over and your path is straight, flat, and beautiful, take some time to slow down, rest and enjoy the beauty. Enjoy the warm breeze at your back gently helping you forward. Treasure these moments of God’s blessing with your spouse, and lean on the memories of the moments during the next tough season.
No matter where you are in life, remember what God has done for you and thank Him. Keeping our focus on positive things inspires us to keep moving onward.
Marriage is a journey that will lead us through many different seasons of life. The important thing is that we follow the same path together.
What season of the journey are you and your spouse on right now? Share with us in the comments–we’d love to hear from you!