Our marriage was likened to a desert place prior to attending the BIH Marriage Seminar. Our love for each other was drying up; we were slowly dying on the vine. We were worn and weary from wondering in the desert and our marriage had become a mirage.
Over the 40 years of our existence as husband and wife we adapted to “survive” the harsh conditions. Our marriage was dehydrated even though we were getting healing rain which I call the “washing of the water of the word.” We were not applying all that we were learning to our situations.
Our marriage has endured many major snares over the years. Our dream home was flooded with 6’ of water, a miscarriage, unemployment, porn & drug addictions, loss of several small business, near bankruptcy, PTSD, death of a twin son, infidelity, cancer and the list goes on.
To survive this harsh environment, we became like some cactus; we grew spines and thorns for protection. Little by little, offense by offense, we hardened our hearts. These spines and thorns represent the scars, from the wounding, that needed deeper penetration to help us begin to “thrive” instead of “survive”.
Plants and animals, in the desert, have a wide variety of special features that allow them to survive with desert conditions. BIH marriage conference shared with us a wide variety of special features that taught us how to stop surviving and thrive. Like some desert plants that grow long roots to tap into the water deep underground we were taught how to identify the roots that had grown deep in our marriage that were sucking the life out of it.
Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. The teachings and transparency of Pastor Henry and Donna Wright helped us to see areas in our marriage that had become froward and taught us how to “keep” (protect) the soul of our marriage. One of the most important features we learned was to see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, before we see each other as husband and wife. We are our brother’s keeper and the spiritual condition of each other is more important than our emotions and feelings.
We purposely stayed at the campgrounds knowing there would not be any media distractions. This allowed us time for each other and challenged us to go deeper with each other than ever before. This was very uncomfortable for us because passivity and control were two prickly thorns that kept us working to be peacekeepers instead of peacemakers. Peacemakers work on confronting issues honestly and blatantly; calling one another to wholeness instead of re-wounding each other.
Throughout the week as we allowed the spines and thorns to be broken off we slowly and gently reached out to each other to help heal the wounds. We learned the importance of the husband covering and nurturing his wife as an affectionate frontrunner. And learned how a wife is to follow her husband’s lead as he follows Christ. Helping each other become all God has planned for us is our goal.
We are learning to respect and appreciate our diversity and are encouraging each other in our strengths. Instead of seeing the strengths, in each other, as a threat we are accepting them as God’s unique gifting of each other. Most importantly we can communicate with each other without fear and accusation. This is helping both of us to be more transparent and vulnerable again. By changing accusation into discernment, we are learning to fertilize the wilderness areas of our marriage and those areas are beginning to bloom with unconditional love for each other.
Every victory we have is improvement for the next obstacle; we never want to have status-quo again in our lives. We agreed to let everything that can be shaken; be shaken. And by George we feel like there has been an earthquake in this desert!! But what joy we are sharing now! Our marriage is on the road to being all that God has intended. Learning to protect each other from the desert conditions that existed before our attendance of the BIH Marriage seminar is helping us to feel safe with each other again. Our desert marriage is beginning to bloom and oh what beauty we are seeing and experiencing. We are standing on Isaiah 35:1-10. The only regrets we have is that we did not attend the BIH Marriage Seminar sooner.
Matthew West’s song “Mended” is truly a picture of our marriage. What we thought was too far gone God has mended and restoring and is truly making miracles out of us. Thank you, Pastors Henry and Donna Wright and staff of BIH, for giving to the Lord, we are another marriage that has been healed.