Valentine's Day. A day for declaring your undying love and dedication to your spouse. A day for romance, gifts, flowers, etc...
For Tiffany and me, it's a little different.
You see, on February 13, 2003, I thought my marriage was over.
And rightly so. In the months leading up to that day, I'd made some really terrible choices against it. Selfish choices that could not be justified in any way. Sure, we'd had our problems through the previous 11 years. The natural drift toward isolation that happens in every marriage was a factor. And we'd both made other choices along the way that further eroded our relationship.
But none of that was cause for my actions, my attitudes, my choices. And I had become convinced that nothing good could come out of those choices. But there was another problem. Tiffany didn't even know what I'd done. She knew I had been distant for a while, but she didn't know why. I was keeping silent at all cost, but that cost was more than I could bear.
I ruined Valentine's Day
In the early morning hours of February 14, 2003 I ruined Valentine's Day. I was SO weary of living a lie and under conviction to come clean, no matter the cost. Whatever was to come had to be better than continuing on like we were. I disclosed my choices and actions to Tiffany - essentially dropping a bomb of my own making in her lap. My expectations were that it would destroy every hope of healing, every chance of reconciliation.
OH those two powerful words! Are there any more powerful?
I'm not gonna lie and tell you that Tiffany received the news with a smile on her face and love in her heart. Hardly. She was hurt beyond explanation. Afflicted. The indescribably pained look on her face will forever be etched in my memory.
But there was something else there, too. Maybe just a glimmer in that moment, but I also saw hope - beyond explanation. You see, God had also been preparing her for that moment. In the days prior, He had done an incredible work in her heart, giving her a perspective only He could give. Sharing a glimpse of a future that could be different than the reality looming over us. And He gave her the ability, even in that pain-filled moment, to look me in the eye and offer forgiveness. An incredible forgiveness that could only come from Him and flow through her. It was supernatural.
February 14th - Valentine's Day - isn't so much about roses, chocolates, or trinkets for us. I'll be honest, it's still a hard day for us both. A painful reminder of a tarnished past. But there's something else too. It's a day of hope and renewal. It's a reminder of unmerited favor, amazing grace, incredible forgiveness, and second chances.
The first 11 years of our marriage were quite different than the next 11. Not sure we'll ever get to where we can "celebrate" Valentine's Day. But we do celebrate what God has done in and through our marriage relationship as we've endeavored to live it according to His principles. And we celebrate Him every day - for He alone is worthy!
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:7-11
This Valentine's Day
I don't know in what condition you find the relationships around you. Maybe, like me, you have difficulty really "celebrating." I do know there is a good and incredible God who can give you a hope that cannot be destroyed. And that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. It requires a death - death to self - and brings about incredible life - abundant life. If you want a reason to celebrate, look no further than Jesus!
FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember saved our marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too! Read about David & Tiffany's experience here!
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