So lately I’ve been falling in love with the music of Andrew Peterson. I realize he’s been on the Christian music scene for quite some time already, but just last November I saw him in concert with Steven Curtis Chapman for the first time and thought, “Hey, this guy is really good!” His lyrics are flowing, poetic and deeply felt, which are all hallmarks of a great musician for me.
Anyway, I was driving around town the other day with the iPod going just like always, and Andrew’s song “Dancing in the Minefields” came up. I’ve heard this song several times before and it’s one you’ve probably heard if you listen to any sort of contemporary Christian radio. It’s a very sweet mellow song about how marriage is hard and even dangerous, especially when you marry young, but it’s SO so worth it. In this song there’s one line that always seems to stand out for me: “And this harder than we dreamed, but I believe that’s what the promise is for”.
It’s that word “promise”. It’s a strong word! And one that doesn’t get taken too seriously nowadays, I’m sad to say. But I had a mini-revelation sitting in my car that day. There are a few different variations on what traditional wedding vows are supposed to look like, but typically they’re littered with words like I vow, I promise, I pledge. The question that ran through my head was, why do we need a promise? Most aspects of popular culture today will tell you that love is supposed to be easy, that you shouldn’t have to work very hard at it, and if you run into too many rough spots, then it probably wasn’t meant to be and oh well, it’s time for a divorce. But if loving someone is supposed to be that easy, then the promise isn’t really necessary, right? Because promises by their nature are meant to keep you pointed in one direction when it’s tempting to go another. So why do marriages typically come with a promise?
Because marriage is hard!
Go figure, right? Most of us have heard this our entire lives, but I don’t think that all of us have truly taken it to heart, and tend to throw it out the window completely when faced with the struggles of marriage for the first time. So when the storms DO come, it’s like a slap in the face. We think, “this wasn’t supposed to happen…was it?” But I think marriage comes with a promise because the God who made it knew that it was a relationship contrary to the natural frame of our selfish, sinful minds. The promise is the thing that’s meant to keep us going when everything else is telling us to give up.
I realize that I’m only a young 20-something and have no personal experience with marriage whatsoever, so I’m not truly qualified to talk about this. But I do know what it’s like to try to love someone you care about when everything seems to be going against you. And I can only hope that if/when I do marry someday, I’ll be faithful enough to honor the promise I’ll make, so help me. And I think knowing that the storms WILL come, that they’re not abnormal or rare, will make them easier to endure in the end…because that’s what the promise is for.
What do you guys think? Do you married folks agree? What about the single folks like myself? I’d love to hear what you have to say. 🙂