being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
The Marriage Montage
A couple years ago, hubs and I decided to take advantage of one of the Army’s perks – a free marriage retreat. While the retreat itself was planned down to the very minute (a plus for military-minded people, but a total drag for a Type-B personality like me), there were some good things that came from it.
Besides some honest discussion about the state of our relationship, one of the “activities” we did was the marriage montage. For a mission-minded organization like the Army, no endeavor (even marriage) should be undertaken without a mission statement. As it was described to us, a marriage montage is a pictorial depiction of our marriage. Most people drew pictures of their families. However, this is what we drew.
It’s a little hard to read, and we only had about ten minutes to complete it. It’s drawn in crayon on simple white card stock. It has a few food stains from being posted in the kitchen. But the gist of it is this: Our marriage is rooted in God/Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit. We (T & C) will grow together “Through all life’s seasons” (taken from our vows). The tree is half in bloom, and half bare. In “life’s seasons” we seek to (from left to right) live healthy – enjoying each other fully (intimately and intellectually), positively impact and find contentment in the lives we touch, Love each other more than we love ourselves, share mutual love and respect, and persevere through the winter together. At the foot of the tree is the “fruit”, which represents our children with the goal being to raise healthy, God-fearing, productive children.
As I previously mentioned, one of the more poetic phrases in our marriage vows was, “I will love you through all of life’s seasons.” Can I tell you that when we wrote our vows we didn’t realize that it was more than just Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter? It also includes Tsunami season, Hurricane Season, and Tornado season. In fact, our marriage has also had its fair share of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, even though there are no seasons for those. We were just two crazy kids in love, with the knowledge that marriage was hard (but without a crystal ball).
At the time we drew our montage, we had an extra child staying with us for an undetermined amount of time. We were knee-deep in several life stressors: a new high responsibility job, new child, postpartum depression, and a new car payment (had to get a bigger rig for the extra child staying with us). Finally, we were melting off the dregs of a long, cold Alaskan winter. Suffice it to say, we were in the midst of a somewhat difficult time in our family and marriage. Things were still yet to get a little worse before they got better.
I have often wanted to revisit our marriage montage and take a little bit more time to include some other ideals/goals for our marriage. I like this simple representation that we began. I think we started well in the ten minutes we had three years ago on a cold Saturday in the Alaskan ski retreat. However, there’s more to our story and so much has happened since we drew this together. And I don’t think we had nearly enough time to draw a proper tree.
Maybe we can work on it the next time we have a date night (whenever that may be).
Have you ever thought about what picture would best represent your marriage if you had to draw one? What would it look like?