Rebecca and I aren’t a lovey-dovey couple, who cuddle or hold hands. We aren’t experts in the 5 love languages; we don’t wear matching outfits; and we don’t read or cook together.
I’m also not great at buying flowers, or writing a lot of cards. And yes, I have forgotten to celebrate some important dates, including Rebecca’s birthday and Valentine’s Day.
We are two, strong-willed, quite determined individuals who have been trying to build a relationship for the past 28 years. Sometimes, it feels like we’re building the Taj Mahal, but more often it feels like we’re working on an eternal fixer-upper.
Fighting Our Way To Breakthrough
For the longest time in our relationship, we just couldn’t get it right. We argued a lot, talked in circles, and made sure to tell the other what they had to change in order to make this duo work. It was actually a bad fight that led to our breakthrough moment and gave us a totally different perspective on our relationship.
“You are like a river!” I told Rebecca. “Always flowing around obstacles, always trying to please everyone, but never confronting or voicing your concerns, and it is driving me crazy. I’m the only one keeping our family and our relationship on track. If it wasn’t for me, everything would be everywhere.”
She retaliated immediately. “Well, you are always so sure of yourself, like a brick wall, just standing there, never compromising, always right, and it doesn’t matter what I think or how I feel, you’re not interested anyway. You aren’t holding this family together. You’re just about holding yourself together.”
Wow. That went well. Days went by without us talking to each other.
It wasn’t until a week later, we decided to take our arguments to a couple who was mentoring us at the time. After patiently listening to our complaints, the wife asked us a simple question: “So tell me, where does a river and wall come together? Where do they meet?”
“A dam, of course!”
God Gave Us A Picture And A Practice
All of a sudden, we had a clear picture before us. God gave us to each other—not to change each other, but to complement each other and build each other up. Rebecca could remain a river. I could remain a wall. But instead of our strengths tearing each other down, we could form a dam, a solid place where we came together, creating a strong home, full of love and life, and where things could grow and multiply. Not only that but we could become a resource for others, empowering them with renewed passion, care, and protection.
But how? It happened in different ways, many of them small. For example, God “nudged” me one day to put my “wall” into practice. What I heard was: “Whenever Rebecca enters the room, I want you to stand up and honor her.”
“God gave us to each other—not to change each other, but to complement each other and build each other up.”
“Ooookay” I thought reluctantly. It’s wasn’t that easy. It meant that I had to leave whatever I was doing, on the computer, phone, TV, meeting, and give her my full attention.
Now have I stood up for Rebecca every time? No, but I do stand up and give her a hug every morning when she comes down the stairs into our kitchen. This little practice has changed the way I talk and treat her. It’s like a prophetic sign, reminding us every time we meet that I am a wall, and that as a river, she can lean on me, that I love her and honor her for who she is.
You Are Not A Typical Couple Either
There are no two couples on the planet who are the same. All couples bring unique strengths, perspectives, and experiences into their relationship. And that’s good! You don’t have to check all the boxes and be what you think others expect you to be.
Be yourselves, take time to evaluate your relationship. Be open and honest with each other. Invite other couples into your conversations and ask yourselves the following:
- What is God saying to us?
- How has God wired you and me, and our relationship?
- How can we use our strengths to build each other up?
- What small practice could we implement to grow together? (e.g. I’ll make the coffee, I’ll clean the car, pray together, read the Bible together, have sex regularly, etc.)
If you would like to take your relationship to the next level and create the marriage you’ve always wanted, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help support and encourage you.
Happy Valentine’s Day! We love you!
Tim and Rebecca Lindsay