I tapped the blue icon and opened the weather app on my phone. The upcoming five-day forecast showed all sunshine and no rain. Perfect! Perfect conditions for me to dig in my garden, sweep out the garage, wash my car, get the lawn furniture out of storage and, not to mention, keep my spirits bright! Sunshine just makes everything better. It even makes for good hair days and that alone is a reason to love it! In my perfect world, it would be sunny and 75 all year round (wait, isn’t there a song about that?!).
I closed the app and glanced up at my garden out back. I smiled at the sight of pink and purple flowers dotting the landscape and in their midst were yellow daffodils who seemed to be waving cheerfully back at me. I noticed the tender green leaves of the day-lilies waking up from their winter slumber and was surprised to see how tall an iris had grown from the day before. The rain we just experienced provided the perfect environment for the spring flowers to grow and now bloom.
As I admired the beauty of my garden I began thinking about how both sunshine and rain are necessary for my little flowers to reach their beautiful potential. They have equal value to the growth of the plant and if one is not present, the flower cannot achieve the desired maturity. Why is it then that I seem to appreciate the sunshine more than the rain? It’s not simply because it ruins my hair, but because it disrupts my level of comfort…it wrecks my plans and prevents me from doing what I want to do.
The same principle applies to relationships. When the sun is shining, things are going well and circumstances are good, I’m happy and I’m comfortable. However, while a comfort zone is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy, it isn’t a place where we grow. The difficulties that rain down on our relationship are necessary for our marriage to reach its full and beautiful potential. It’s hard to see past the disruption, discomfort and sometimes pain and recognize the value the rain brings to wash away unhealthy habits, develop strength of character and deepen intimacy, but where would our relationship be without such growth?
This is the very reason our wedding vows include “for better or worse”. We are acknowledging that we are committed in sunshine and rain, in the good times and bad as life is full of both. None of us start out wanting to be a “fair weather” partner yet the truth is that when the first drop of rain hits, it becomes quite tempting to grab an umbrella and run. That’s when we need to be reminded that all marriages experience storms but they don’t last forever. Every cloud eventually runs out of rain and the sun will appear again… things will get better. Instead of dodging the drops and running for cover, perhaps the best thing to do is toss the umbrella and learn to dance in the rain knowing, at worst, your hair might get ruined, but at best, your marriage will be strengthened so it can grow into all that you want it to be.
“Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom…So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” Isaiah 55:10-11 MSG
Chad and Kristen Cottingham