A massive sequoia tree entitled, The Faithful Couple, at Yosemite National Park serves as a powerful illustration for married couples.
It’s about 40 feet in diameter and one hundred feet high. What makes it so special is that it’s actually two trees in one. Approximately 1500 years ago it
began as two seedlings that sprouted from the forest floor about 15 feet apart. For the first 700-800 years they grew individually, but as they grew larger, their trunks grew closer and closer together. Somewhere around the age of 800 their trunks had touched and they began to merge together—fused together as one.
If you ever have the privilege of seeing this tree in person (I haven’t yet), you’ll notice that about fifty feet above your head the two trees reappear, each with its own separate identity. Amazingly, they merged together, but shades of their own individuality could still be seen.
It’s fascinating that two beautiful, majestic sequoia trees could actually merge together over hundreds of years, isn’t it?
What’s one marriage application we can draw from this? Like Jesus’ parables, it’s usually best to draw one main point from a word picture or metaphor such as this. Here’s mine:
Two lives becoming one takes time – lots of it.
For these two sequoias, it took 8oo years! I know that may not sound very profound, but if you think about it, it can be very encouraging. This simple truth can be an anchor when a marriage goes through a difficult season or two…or three.Two lives becoming one takes time - lots of it. Click To Tweet
Let’s remember that “becoming one” (merging) is God’s intended goal for every marriage. In Ephesians 5:32 Paul refers to it as a profound mystery. And when we get right down to it, it’s what we all want for our marriages – to know and to be known, to be an unshakable team, and to experience true partnership in every way (physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.).
The Faithful Couple reminds us that it takes time.
Several times this year Debbie and I have had conversations about the first 20 years of our marriage, specifically about how much closer we are today than we were when we were younger. We both agreed that, compared to where we are now in our relationship, we would never want go back and relearn the marriage lessons that time has afforded us. There are certain things we know now that we simply didn’t know 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Back then, we didn’t even know that we didn’t know them!
Marriages that stand the test of time are rewarded with several wonderful gifts. Here are a few of them.
Time brings perspective. The things we argued about years ago, and the challenges we faced, look much different now that they’re in our rear view mirror. I guess it’s the hindsight/foresight thing. A study was done among couples that were in crisis mode and considering divorce but chose not to. Five years later, they said they were glad they held on and chose not to divorce. That’s perspective.
Time brings appreciation. For example, I appreciate Debbie today more than ever because 20 years is a more adequate length of time to see her character, her fierce love for God, and her fierce devotion to me rise to the occasion. And it takes time for those “occasions” to present themselves. It’s one thing to have a sense of your spouse’s strengths early in the relationship; it’s another thing to see those strengths grow and flourish as the years go by.
Time brings personal growth. Thankfully, it doesn’t take 1500 years to become as tall as a sequoia! However, couples that stand the test of time are rewarded with, for example, answers to their prayers for their spouse, themselves, and their marriage. And often those results take much, much longer that we initially thought they would.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9
I realize that the statement, “it takes time”, doesn’t fill us with excitement …but let’s remember The Faithful Couple.Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up -Galatians 6:9 Click To Tweet
Here’s what I recommend. Have a conversation as a couple and talk about the rewards of time in your relationship. Here are some questions to get you started:
What are some milestones we’ve reached together?
How has God been faithful to us in our marriage? Be specific.
What have we learned about ourselves, and how have we grown personally over the years in our marriage?
What’s one thing you appreciate about your spouse today that you didn’t fully appreciate in the past?
What’s one area of your relationship where your perspective has changed and why?