We had the great honor of attending a beautiful wedding in the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado two weeks ago. The glowing beauty of the young bride, and her handsome new husband, competed with the stunning landscape of soaring snow-capped mountains and lush green pine trees that surrounded the reception location at TenMile Station on Peak 9.
Craig and I locked hands during the ceremony and were both touched to see Brett and Collin serve as ushers, and to see Brett walk Craig’s sister, the mother of the bride, down the aisle to her seat.
Marina soaked in every second and loved seeing the bride appear with her adoring dad by her side. He was an usher at our wedding twenty-six short years ago.
Before the couple said their vows, it was emotional to hear one of Craig’s sisters share sweet words of encouragement, as it also was listening to the groom’s aunt speak about her love for her nephew and his new bride. There were many stories and words of wisdom imparted during the ceremony, with glasses raised at dinner, and throughout the night.
I’m sure many there reflected on their own marriage or relationships, as we did. If I could go back in time, here’s a few things I wish I would’ve known in our early days.
It’s okay to go to bed angry: A common piece of advice given to those first married is to “never go to bed angry,” but I would say, do the opposite! If it’s late at night and you’re angry with each other and can’t come to a loving resolution . . . by all means, go to bed. Better to roll away from each other to the far corners of the bed and fall into a fitful sleep, or even sleep in separate rooms for a night, then to say mean and ugly things to each other that can’t be taken back.
We’ve learned this the hard way on an occasion or two and I can attest to the fact, that after a good nap or a night’s sleep, our disagreements have faded in intensity compared to what they were beforehand. Sometimes, after sleeping, we completely forgot what we were so mad about, or have even laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. We’re always able to discuss important topics cooperatively, and come to resolutions quicker when we’re rested. I’ve found that most foul moods and funks can be cured by sleep. (When it comes to one son in particular, a bad mood can also be cured by carefully pushing a burrito in his direction.)
Keep your sense of humor above all else: Laughter has a way of smoothing out disagreements and feels a whole lot better than needing to always be right! We’ve had moments over the years of trying to prove that our way of seeing things is the only and right way. But just as people are constantly changing and evolving, so are relationships and I’m thankful that Craig and I are at a place where we see the value of laughing together and trying hard to see one another’s point of view. We can lecture, pout, whine, cry, yell and manipulate OR we can find reasons to laugh at the human condition and the fact that we all fall far short of perfection. Obviously not all problems can be laughed off, but a well rested mind and body go a long way in helping us discern what is worth pursuing and what isn’t.
Most importantly, NEVER EVER leave God out of the equation: In every and all decisions, situations, moments, problems, joys – consult God and acknowledge Him and His sovereign leadership. He’s always there whether we acknowledge him or not, and he created both of us and brought our lives together for a specific purpose. I’ve learned over time that He is the one we should always go to first – not our friends, parents or brothers and sisters. Instead, in conflict (and out) we’ve learned to make time for quiet moments, to grab hands and pray. The strongest and most joyous marriages I’ve witnessed are the ones in which the husband and wife keep Jesus in the center of everything they do.
I try to imagine a world where every child was raised in a family that was led by two parents who put God first and cherished and loved one another selflessly. Where those two parents asked God each and every day to give them wisdom, to allow them to learn from their mistakes and to be given hope and joy for their successes, and to do a little better that very day than they did the day before.
I want that for my kids and grandkids and will keep striving for it.
So go ahead and go to bed angry. Tomorrow is a new day.
Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”