Here’s a challenge for all you married couples out there—especially those of you who have endured some bumps and bruises along the way in your relationship. On your next date night (and I pray for your sake that they are regular and frequent) have the lyrics to this song in front of you and listen to We Build by Nicole Nordeman (http://www.youtube.com/watchv=uMb1Lu1mJ4o&list=RDuMb1Lu1mJ4o).
It's bigger than we thought; it's taller than it ought to be—
this pile of rubble and ruins.
The neighbors must talk--it's the worst yard on the block;
Just branches and boards where walls stood.
Did it seem to you like the storm just knew
we weren't quite finished with the roof when it started?
So we build, we build;
we clear away what was and make room for what will be.
If you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer.
I'll hold it still if you'll climb the ladder.
If you will, then I will…build.
On any given day we could simply walk away
and let someone else hold the pieces.
The lie that we tell says it's better somewhere else,
as if love flies south when it freezes.
What I'm trying to say in some clumsy way
is that it's you and only you for always.
Every year that goes by brings a deeper appreciation for this song’s honesty and this songwriter’s insights. Nothing is more difficult, perhaps, than achieving the goal of a happy and healthy marital relationship, able to endure all the pitfalls that await it. After all, the “two becoming one” are always two sinners, fallen and fractured, if not broken, human beings who, on their best days, are still capable of hiding and hurting, disappointing and dashing the hopes and dreams of another. And as Christian couples, we discover all too soon that relational discord between a husband and wife becomes pretty obvious over time. The use of the metaphor of a house that has grown increasingly dilapidated in full view is particularly poignant. It only adds to our shame when we fear our failure is on display for all to see, and we often incorrectly conclude that our conflicts are unique to us. We might even think that if we were “truly Christians” we wouldn’t be having these problems.
The chorus to this song provides, I believe, the key to moving through the pain and problems to better days and an even deeper relationship. It suggests that we must repeatedly look each other in the eyes and “re-up.”
What I'm trying to say in some clumsy way is that it's you and only you;
Not just for now, not just today, but it's you and only you…for always.
We must go back to our original vows and recommit to staying, to listening, and to working through or overcoming whatever chasms we believe have begun to separate us. And, like any builder knows, we must start with a firm foundation. There is limitless help—God with us—for those days we are tempted to “simply walk away and let someone else hold the pieces.”
Don’t wait for the next “storm” to appear to begin preparing for it. Trials and setbacks are part of being human. Resolve together right now to attend to the details, the issues which make you most vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one. Resist the natural tendency to let your love grow cold through neglect or taking one another for granted. Find other couples to be totally honest with about your struggles. Talk to a counselor, a pastor, or a trusted, but also grounded, friend. Whatever you do, recognize the signs when outside help is needed. And never be too proud to admit that yours is a marriage still under construction.