16 years of marriage asks for a little bit of reflection. Here is something I read online:
“Some of the sweetest connections I have ever seen have been extreme innies and extreme outies. They’re perfect at parties together. The introvert can hide behind the extrovert. EX works the crowd just like she likes it and one by one brings her new friends over to the corner and introduces them to IN (just like he likes it). IN doesn’t compete for attention, and EX shields him from the crowds. IN becomes a sounding board for EX, and EX protects IN from disengaging completely. It works. Not automatically and not without intentionality, but it works, and sometimes it works brilliantly well.” Read the whole thing here.
This quote describes us so well. One of us is the 95% EX, and the other is the 95% IN. It’s up to you to guess who is who.;-) That interesting mix of character is also a confluence of brokenness.
In these sixteen years, we moved through two continents and four countries. A lot of transition and stress came with it. Our kids changed school systems three times and switched languages along with it. All that has had some impact on our family and also our marriage. You might not see it on the outside. We do not fight in public and love each other, that is true. We have decided to stick together. We avoid using bad words and we keep searching for the other’s heart, but it is a lifelong search.
A couple of weeks ago, at a certain moment, we were a bit tense and sad. (At least we were in tune, although it was pretty much in a minor key.) At that very moment, Jelle found this article, and it came to us at the right time. The author compares a marriage with two rivers who confluence and find each other, although not without conflict and two different backgrounds.
“But what we almost never take into consideration is that the biggest thing my partner will contribute to our relationship is her brokenness. Just as the biggest thing I contribute to our life together is my brokenness. This can be masked, can be hidden, it can be denied, it can be compensated for. But eventually our true colors are up the pole, flapping in the wind. What I choose to do with my wife’s brokenness, what she chooses to do with mine, this is the true test of our hearts; it’s the anvil on which our commitment will be either shaped or shattered.” Read the whole thing here.
The author, Bill Black, includes a lot of pictures of confluencing rivers, ending with the Drava and Danube, around the corner from us. I felt overwhelmed by God’s loving kindness and care in sending this to us at the right time. The strength of our lives lies in our weakness and finding the other in the brokenness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
May God be always at the center so we remain the chord of three strands what is not easily broken, because God, the author of marriages, confluenced us together
Warm greetings, Jelle and Janneke
Lieve mensen nog veel goede jaren samen en ik wens jullie veel liefde voor elkaar toe! Als die er nog is kun je over alle verschillen heen komen! Hadden wij die liefde nog maar.. helaas het is niet ieder gegund.
Lovely, article, Janneke! And it’s helpful for me, because Paul and I are preparing a seminar on “Marriage and Mission” for the conference in Germany in a few weeks!