What Do You Really Want?
We just got back from a cruise to Alaska celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary. We took our grandson Emmett along as a special gift for his 12th birthday. But this post is not about our cruise or Emmett’s birthday; it’s about your marriage. This was our first big ship experience. I was struck by the parallels between the cruise experience and how many of us conduct our lives and marriage.
There were many activities available: live shows, laser tag, the speedway, virtual reality games, classes on everything from fruit and vegetable carving to salsa lessons to how to run a cruise ship. Some people rushed from one activity to the next in a never-ending push to take in the next one and the next one.
The buffet was an experience unto itself. It was the biggest food court I’d ever seen and Emmett’s favorite place. Picture 8 fifty-foot by fifty-foot squares lined with food stations on all sides. The food was tasty but mass-produced. You could have as much as you wanted so people consumed plates of it.
People carried drinks as they walked. I assume most drinks were alcoholic. At some point it seems the painful disadvantage of a hangover would outweigh any pleasure one might derive from the drink. But the drinking continued.
The hustle-bustle of this aspect of the cruise reminded me of how many of us conduct our lives. Hurry. Move from one activity to the next. See how much you can get. Indulge yourself. One choice is as good as the next. See how much you can grab.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Good Things.
But there was another cruise experience you could enjoy—if you chose to enjoy it. There was the beauty of God’s creation all around. Glaciers, waterfalls, ice floes, wildlife. I wanted to stand there and drink it in for as long as possible. This was special. Long-lasting. It touched the soul. It was not something you inhaled before rushing off to the next thing.
There were also fine dining restaurants. The food was gourmet and of the highest quality. It was served in limited amounts, healthy portions. But it was special, elegant, served artistically. It was meant to be savored.
Bob and I celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary in the formal dining room. After a sumptuous dinner, the staff brought us a small anniversary cake and sang, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” The other diners clapped. Emmett took a picture of us. It was a very special celebration. I believe that’s what God wants our marriage relationship to be. Limit yourself to that one special person and make that one relationship first rate—gourmet—special—a celebration.
The day we sailed to the glacier, we had Emmett come out on deck with us. He wanted to go to the internet café and play games, but we insisted he stay with us. At first, he objected. But the closer we got to the glacier, the more beautiful it was. He began taking photo after photo—mementos to treasure forever. When we finally left the deck, he told us, “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.” You don’t know what you’re missing until you actually experience what God has to offer.
Which part of the cruise experience is your marriage like? Is it a great, big feeding frenzy? An attempt to delight yourself with things that won’t last? A mad rush from one activity to the next? Or, do you do less but put forth the effort to make sure each word, each gesture, each detail is thoughtfully crafted?
I speak to myself too when I say, “Slow down. Focus. Relax. Enjoy the good things and the mate God has given you.” The second option is the one that satisfies.
The subject of temporal values and how they affect your marriage is covered in our book The Marriage Dance: Moving Together as One, available on Amazon.
Photo by Vincent Lock, used with permission.