Twenty years ago this week, he proposed. This photo is the night we got engaged – full of anticipation, with no idea of what might come when two lives and two histories collided.
Yikes. Can anyone else relate: we used to have the same argument 23 times in a year — different scenarios, same aches? Different topic, same script. Circling the ring, again and again.
There are dozens of things that contribute to more-than-survival in a marriage, but the one I’ve been thinking most about lately, as I see the pain in marriages all around me (pain we’ve known – *familiar* pain), is this: I didn’t just marry the 23-year-old Nate. He didn’t just marry the 23-year-old Sara. God wasn’t suspended in that singular moment – He brought me with my history into a union with Nate and his history.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and … Joseph) is a storied God who births, raises, and *heals* storied people, from storied families.
You see, Nate married a woman who’d been shaped by her history, her family, even the generations before her. And I married 23 years of life and story and narrative in Nate, which predated me.
Only when we started to see the layers in each other — the history that infused that same hurtful comment he said thirty times, that infused that same roll of the eyes I made just as many — did the argument begin to change.
The man or woman you married has a history that God wants to reach into, breathe on, and speak healing life over. The rift you keep circling may not be just about you but, instead, may mark a place that is longing for God’s healing touch. It may be the place that was hurting for decades before you entered their life.
God can use marriage (yes, even the painful moment you’ve found yourself in in your marriage) to heal the deepest aches in a person. Many of us know the wounding that’s come through marriage, but now as I look at this picture, I remember, this marriage hasn’t just been the place that has wounded us … but it’s also the space He is using to heal us.