Before our second Valentine’s Day after we started dating (see throwback photo on the left!), I (Jake) had purchased a present that I was ecstatic about. I couldn’t even contain my excitement enough to make it to February 14, so after some begging and my best impression of puppy dog eyes, Melissa gave in to getting her present a day early. I ran up to my dorm room, grabbed the carefully wrapped box and sprinted back down to Melissa so she could open it and I could await the praise I had coming…
“You got me a Bible Commentary for Valentine’s Day!? Did you not get any of the hints I had dropped about jewelry?”
This was not the reaction Jake had hoped for. His goal of the gift had been to encourage Melissa in her walk with God and give us a tool we could use to do devotional times together and have deeper conversations. A fight ensued about how insulted and offended Jake was versus how unromantic and stupid the gift was for Valentine’s Day. (Jake now can admit Melissa was right…) This then lead into a different debate about what spending time with God as a couple looked like.
One thing that we have found that many young Christian couples assume is that they will experience a relationship with God in exactly same way. In his book Sacred Pathways, author Gary Thomas explores how there is not one correct, formulaic way to spend time with God and discusses nine different ways in which people best connect with Him. We have learned to have open communication and flexibility in our marriage when it comes to spending time with God together. Sometimes we talk deeply about a Bible passage or sermon, which Jake likes, and other times we go for a hike and silently reflect on God’s creation, which is what Melissa prefers. We’ve also learned that it’s completely OK in certain seasons to pull back on how much collective time we spend with God to promote more individual times in our different styles.
Just like everything in marriage, growing in your faith together is all about finding compromises and celebrating your differences. We have found that when we do this at our best, it allows us to experience God in new and refreshing ways, while also drawing us closer together. It also helps us to see God from new perspectives and learn from one another’s understanding of God and how He works.
Jake and Melissa /@marriageismessy