Back before the gray beard and facial lines, the Mrs. and I, newlyweds in December of 2000, took a trip to California to visit my sister and her family for the holidays. I thought it would be great to take her to one of those spots I used to visit near Santa Cruz where all you could hear was the wind and waves.
The photo today was taken that day and is one of her favorite photos of me. I’m really not sure why, because it’s grainy, the hair looks pretty slicked back, and the turtleneck sweater is way out of date. Now, the jacket, that will never get old and still hangs in my closet today.
Regardless of why, it was a moment we shared together that neither of us will forget. We were both young, she had never been to San Francisco so everything there was new, and it felt like we both had been given a second chance at love. It still astonishes me how the Lord brought us together and why she fell for, me. It was most definitely a God thing and I married up!
Still, even though we had both made the trip around the track before, we felt like we were starting over and had to build on a foundation of experiences we both brought into the relationship. Sometimes, that wasn’t always easy.
No matter what they say, we always carry something into a relationship whether it’s our first marriage, second, or even third. All of those past experiences, pains, loves and losses, come together to make us who we are.
Was I much more mature this time around? YES. Was I where I am today? NO. The one thing both of us knew was what we wanted, and didn’t want, in a relationship. That, above nearly everything else, was the foundation we began with. And, what we saw in each other was that which we did want.
We’d both learned from our past and were ready, although frightened, to step out again. This time, we both knew it was a ‘God thing’. What does that mean, a ‘God thing’, anyway? For some, asking God to help them find a mate sounds crazy. It’s much easier to get on the latest social app (not saying God can’t use those because He does).
For me, having God be the one who helped bring us together was key. Neither of us were looking and, yet, the timing for each of us feeling we needed to be at certain places, attend a certain class at church, and look a each other for who we were and not what we looked like, was all a part it being a ‘God thing’ for us.
Eighteen years later, we still feel like newlyweds most of the time even though the kids are raised, nearly all married, and grandkids are running around.
What does it mean to feel like a newlywed? I don’t see it as the blind, puppy love we feel when we are in high school. For me, it’s a sense of unconditional love, the sense that the Mrs. knows me better than I know myself, and the joy of sharing life together every day.
Some who’ve been married a long time have lost a lot of those feelings and need a fresh start. I would say, it’s never too late to feel like a newlywed again. Even if you’ve been married 20, 30, or 40+ years, that spark can happen again. What’s the key?
The key is letting go of expectations, letting go of hurts, looking for the things in the other person that you fell in love with, and taking time to be together. Without forgiveness, patience, having a servant heart, and being willing to compromise (all the things that come naturally when we’re first married), it will be a long, tough road.
So, tonight, if that’s you, be encouraged that there’s still time to bring back that spark. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the ocean (although that is a great place to spend time together). It could be a morning walk, a surprise trip to get a coffee or a piece of cake just to talk about the other’s day. It won’t happen overnight, but with time and persistence, that newlywed feeling can come back, and you may just find yourself holding hands at the strangest of times again…
Wishing you a love filled week my friends,