Here's a little story about a bed. You might find it's about something a little more, but don't read ahead!
I have a bed that is unlike any other. It may have started out like others, as a mahogany tree in Honduras, but it didn't end up like the others. It may have been built like others, by the hand of a enterprising carpenter, but it still stands unique.
I spent a year in Honduras with the Air Force. Like all the other "cool kids" there, I ordered a few pieces of furniture to be custom built out of world-reknown Honduran mahogany. Several carpenters made their rounds on the base, showing albums of their work. We customers had only to show them pictures of what we wanted from catalogs or printed off the internet and within a few days, they would return with our beautiful furniture. To make this an even sweeter deal (and the only way it really was a deal at all), we could have the furniture shipped back to the States with our household goods (read: for free).
I ordered a queen-sized bed, a dining room table and six chairs, a book shelf and a few other knick-knacks. My chosen carpenter returned in due time with my furniture, I nodded my approval, handed over my cash and had it packed up to meet me again in Virginia.
When my time in Honduras was over, my household goods were delivered to my house (much, much later than I expected, something about getting stuck/lost in a warehouse somewhere in the Carolinas), and my furniture was set up in the appropriate rooms (definitely some perks to having the military move you). The table was water damaged and warped, the shelf was hacked with an axe (the downside of having the military move you), but the bed looked great.
We plopped our full-sized mattress on it, and to our surprise, it just sortof swam in the middle of this giant bed frame. The carpenter must have made a king-sized bed instead, we thought, so off we went to buy an appropriate mattress. Again, to our surprise, that mattress hung over the sides, but didn't make it to the end. Finally we thought to measure the bed. We googled the measurements, thinking this must be some sort of special size. Oh, it was special alright. A size our carpenter had invented.
I found a furniture repair company here with Honduran carpenters, thinking they might understand the design of their fellow countryman and be able to come up with a way to rebuild the bed to be a standard size. After much discussion between them, they informed me it was not possible without destroying the bed.
Now, you're probably several steps ahead of me, but it finally dawned on me that we'd have to get a custom mattress. We found a company in Tennessee, worked out a deal, and when all was done and delivered, it wasn't much more costly than buying a mattress from the store. And, fortunately, king-sized sheets and blankets fit it just fine.
So why am I telling you about my special bed? Other than this being my blog and I can write about whatever I want, I'm building up to tell you about something else.
See, God speaks to me with pictures. Analogies, if you will. And a few months into my marriage, He showed me the true beauty in what my special bed symbolizes. My marriage.
Our marriage was designed and built for me and John. Our relationship is not to be compared to anyone else's. Sure, there are similarities, but no one else's marriage will work for us. And ours won't work for anyone else. This theme has been constant throughout our entire relationship.
For example, we started dating (long distance) about two months before I moved to Honduras. We knew even then we were going to get married, and shopped for rings about six weeks in. This may be fast for some people, but for us, it was what we needed. We got engaged half-way through my tour and married two months after I came home. That's only four total months of dating in the same country, with only two of them being in the same area code.
Then, due to our military service, we had a scattered six months together over the course of our first married year. During our second year, John's job had him traveling six weeks every other month. It was tough. Actually, it really sucked at times. But because of the way God had designed and built our marriage, starting with a year of long-distance dating, it worked. We worked.
(And you probably got here ahead of me, too.)
Everyone's marriage is a special bed. I'm glad there are books and classes and conferences and counselors to help us strengthen and improve our marriages. I'm grateful for others who have gone before and beat down trails with mistakes and failures and good choices so I and others can walk with fewer stumbles. But I'm also ever so aware of the unique design in marriage that reflects the unique design in each person. Even though it's tempting at times to be jealous of what other people seem to have, I wouldn't trade a thing about the miracle and gift that I've been given.
I'll have more to say about this in coming posts, but for now, I'd love to hear what is special and unique about your story (marriage or otherwise).