My husband and I go running a few mornings a week. We don’t go far, but it’s a chance for fresh air and to watch the sunrise before kids and life and work happen for the day.
Every morning we walk out our front door at around 6:15 a.m. and I am struck by how dark it is outside. The darkness has a cloak-like feeling, heavy, a little oppressive, scary, at least for a moment, until I realize my husband is standing there waiting beside me.
Life will hold much more poignant moments that feel wrapped in heavy darkness for each of us—for you and for me. When we enter these seasons—the loss of someone we love, a time of uncertainty, loneliness, the chaos of illness, whatever—they can be hardest on your relationship with that person standing next to you, your running partner, your go-to, your other half.
Sometimes, when the storms come, they begin to tear at the fabric of what you thought was most stable.
Seasons will come and sometimes we will have to walk out that door into night, wishing for morning. It is hard and it is hard on a marriage. You may find yourself lashing out, tempted to disconnect, disengage, or struggling with a deep desire to be understood and to understand in the midst of the struggle.
In many ways, marriage was made for just this—for these storms, for the darker seasons. They can be some of the times God does His best work in the Spirit, pulling a marriage closer, strengthening threads in need of attention, mending what you didn’t know was cracking.
Sitting with friends who had recently lost a child, I was privileged to hear a pearl of wisdom that I will not easily forget. I’ve shared it with other marriages, every chance I get.
“Treasure them up . . . ”
This may sound particularly familiar at Christmas. It comes from Luke 2:16–19:
And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Mary treasured all that Jesus was and was doing when He was born. I think she also treasured all the auxiliary stuff, God working through regular people, where He had brought her and Joseph from, how the lowly shepherds were included. Everyone else “wondered,” starstruck perhaps, Scripture tells us. But Mary treasured.
In the middle of their dark season, my friend’s husband decided to take moments to treasure up all that his family was experiencing, to listen to the cries of his wife’s heart and hold them close to his own.
I think treasuring things up could go a long way in any marriage, but particularly in darkness and struggle when you don’t know what to do, you want to fix it and make it all better, but you just can’t.
Treasure up the words, the thoughts, and the quiet that you don’t know how to fill for your spouse. Give an open and safe space for the work of figuring this life out. Take out your Bible and read it quietly to yourself and treasure up the promises of God for you and for your spouse. Shine these promises as a light by speaking them gently over your spouse and family.
This world will be dark, sometimes shockingly at times. But baby Jesus was born into the same darkness we experience. He died and darkness came, but light broke forth like never before on Easter morning, and with it more hope than we can imagine.
God will work in the darkness. He will shine light, and He will burst forth in our marriages and our families. Treasuring things up intentionally simply allows us to see Him shine bright in the difficult moments and to give thanks for the running partner beside us in the dark.
Best of all—the God of the universe surely treasures up our days, our lives, and our marriages and holds them in the palm of His hand.