When we first said, "I do," it was easy to be faithful in all things, because our love was fresh and new. We were like the leaves on the vine in spring. There was promise of life to come and each day was a new adventure in discovering what our marriage would look like. As we added children the focus turned from how can I make my husband happy, to how do I care for a new life completely and totally dependent on me for survival? It was more demanding than being a wife. Being a mother required sleepless nights and tireless days. It was like the heat of a summer afternoon. I often didn't feel like loving my husband. He got what was leftover at the end of the day. Not fair to him, but being in my early twenties God was using this season to mature me and make me less selfish. I learned my dependence had to be on God, otherwise I would certainly fail. Because of God's faithfulness to me, He helped me remain faithful to my marriage vows in this season.
As our children grew into teens, the burdens grew heavier as the day-to-day interruptions diminished. I no longer was up in the night caring for a sick infant; I was now up in the night praying for the hearts of my teens. They were being pulled and drawn into the world, and I was afraid for their souls. My husband shared my concerns, which united our hearts to face this challenge together. With such weighty matters, it was easy - almost natural to set aside our marriage for the sake of our children. But, this was when God helped knit our hearts even closer. No one understood my fear like Tom. We cared and loved our teens more than anyone else, and we were the primary ones God wanted to use to help them reach adulthood. Often they didn't want our help. This reality was painful. Yet God was faithful to meet us in our desperate need, and because of His faithfulness we remained faithful to our marriage vows during the violent storms of summer.
Now we have been married almost 33 years. Our children are grown; we have 4 grandchildren with another one on the way, and we are reaping rich fruit in our marriage. We are enjoying the autumn of our love. The fruit we have is not because of our faithfulness, but because of God's faithfulness to help us cultivate our vineyard called marriage.
We planted the seeds in the spring, and it was God who caused the growth through the heat of summer and through the changing colors of fall.
As we anticipate growing old together, we know God will be faithful to us in the winter of our love as He was in spring, summer and autumn. This is what fuels us to continue pursuing one another and reaching back to help those coming along behind us. God desires marriages that will be faithful in all seasons. And He knows the only way this is possible is by our complete dependence on Him. This way He receives all the glory, and we are able to produce lasting fruit which remains decades after our "I do's" were spoken.
About the Author: Tom and Debi Walter started The Romantic Vineyard in November of 2008. Married for nearly 33 years, it is their desire to help marriages grow strong in order to produce a rich harvest of fruit for those following behind them. Their blog has date night ideas, great conversation starters and rich resources to help readers grow their own Romantic Vineyard for God's glory. http://theromanticvineyard.com