A new perspective in grief

Typically, the beginning of a new year has always prompted in me a fresh resolve to begin or recommit to a resolution that fell by the wayside long ago; usually a casualty of the inevitable hurly burly of life and the big beautiful mess that it so often is. The turning over of a brand new calendar page will evoke in me an optimism for the year that lies ahead. I am an optimist at heart and therefore am hopeful that a new year will be a little better. Summer has naturally been a time to take stock and plan for the year ahead.  However, this year I’ve approached things very differently. The events of the past 18 months have left on me a big heart wound. Last year was filled with so much sadness and grief, one does not simply turn the page and move on as if all that was in the past has no lasting impact on the present. While the end of a year naturally brings to a conclusion some things, feelings and emotions are a little more elusive to box up. Rather than resolving to do and be someth

The date night we needed to have!

Six weeks ago my husband had a new proposal for me, which at first took me quite by surprise. He sprung the question on me one evening while I was cooking dinner for the family; “Would you like to do the Marriage Course?” (Our church was offering this opportunity. The format… 7 date nights, over 7 weeks focusing on 7 areas of importance to building a healthy relationship.) My first response to this unexpected question was “Why?”; we’ve been happily married 22 years and in that time have grown a lot. We’ve worked through many challenges, raised four children, and experienced the highs and lows of married life. After 22 years we know one another really well!

His response sold it to me.” Even a good marriage can do with a tune up.” We were married young, and started a family soon after. We’ve spent the majority of our marriage raising a family, and time for ourselves has been fleetingly snatched between the constant pressures of children and work. However, what was once a distant reality of having young adults preparing to leave the nest, is now a closer prospect, and with that closeness comes the exciting but unexplored new chapter of marriage. As I reflected upon these thoughts, I grew more convinced at the prospect of taking hold of this opportunity. Why wouldn’t I want to invest in my most cherished relationship?

Now having enjoyed five weeks of the marriage course, I am so grateful to God for bringing about this opportunity. (Being served delicious desserts in an intimate setting with my husband is treat enough!)Yes, there has been a lot of content that we both feel we’ve talked about and worked through at length, but there has also been so much to reflect upon; being intentional with this time to talk about things we don’t often talk through and to see with fresh eyes what is good about our marriage, and what we still need to work on.

So often we can get bogged down in the mundane, nitty gritty stuff of life. We slot into patterns that work without too much thought, but these past 5 weeks have bought a real freshness to our marriage. I marvel at the lovely timing of it; for as we’ve been setting aside Wednesday nights to do this, the rest of our weeks have had a lot of stressful personal family pressures. What’s new hey? Life always seems to have some point of stress, the challenge and joy is to find new and regular ways to connect and appreciate your partner in amongst the life pressures.

While I’m tempted to look back and wish this were something we had done in the early years of marriage, I’m so grateful for God’s faithfulness to us, and for the way he has been at work in both of us. And I’m rather looking forward to what new adventures await us in the coming chapters of our marriage. For now though… I’m looking forward to dinner out together tonight while our teens go to Youth Group. I’m loving these date nights!


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