Jake and Lesa labored to build their fortress. The blankets stretched over the chairs, until the kindergartners could crawl underneath, without any light showing through. They turned on their flashlights, rejoicing in their safety.
Years passed, Jake and Lesa were sweethearts in college. They had ostensibly been together since birth, growing up on the same street. Their love for one another was tender and sweet. They had friends and a lot of success academically and were happy together.
However, not all was well, as time progressed. One day, with broken hearts, they sat before their preacher, seeking advice. The scared young couple sat apart, unable to get near each other.
Through a series of exploratory questions, he determined that Jake and Lesa were facing opposition to their relationship. Both of them had friends who were pressuring them to break up.
They had always been together and they needed to play the field, their friends argued. Additionally, they were always together and their friends were jealous. The tension was palpable, despite their families’ support.
The young couple watched movies and TV and saw rampant infidelity. The thrill of new conquests faced them everywhere they went. Their confused minds wondered if they were being delusional in their goals.
The preacher cared for these young people, having watched them grow. His concern for them deepened and he contemplated his words carefully.
They needed to realize some things, he said. If they would survive as a couple, they must stubbornly remain together and refuse to break up.
Their relationship did not belong to anyone else. People will try to break them apart for jealousy and for the thrill of the conquest. No matter what, they must remain focused on their goals.
They must understand that Hollywood does not know anything about a good marriage. The world offers adultery, heartache, divorce and pain. If Jake and Lesa were to succeed, it will be because they refused to listen to these supreme failures.
“How,” Lesa asked in a quiet voice, “do we stay together, when so many marriages go bad? We aren’t even married. Already we are having problems.”
“Fifty years is a long time! How do you do it?” Jake exclaimed in a nervous laugh.
“You don’t have to do fifty years. You only have to do one day.”
Puzzled looks flashed across their faces.
“Every day you decide to make your marriage great. Today, you choose to create something wonderful for your spouse. The next day, you do it again. You make every single day wonderful and fifty years will show up soon enough.”
“It is like athletes who refuse to lose a game. They give it everything they have to win. They leave everything on the field or the court. Nothing else matters. God has given you all that you need to be a success in your marriage. Use it. Immerse yourselves in God’s Word and in prayer. You can do it. What’s more, God believes in you. What else do you need?”
The young couple’s body language began to change, as they relaxed. Their fingers moved towards their loved one’s hand. They began to scoot closer together. They could do this.
The preacher read them a passage that would forever reverberate in their heads. “God is their refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NKJV).
Suddenly, they were six again, safely ensconced under their fortress tent; their refuge, where their light, the Lord of their lives (John 8:12), illuminated the path to a happy marriage, free from the wicked darkness (1 John 1:5).
They could do nothing but smile!