a marriage summit

7 01 2011

Early Wednesday afternoon I found a folded slip of paper on the dining room table with one word printed neatly in a most familiar hand.

I opened it and read these words: I request the honor of a marriage summit sometime soon. Much love, George.

A what? Was that some sort of couples’ retreat? I peeked into his office and said, “What’s a marriage summit?”

He smiled, crossed the room, and slipped his arms around my waist. “You know — a summit. A meeting to discuss important matters. We have some big decisions to make, and I want to reserve some time in your schedule before my semester starts and you leave town for a while.”

“That sounds good. When do you want to have this marriage summit?”

“Classes start next Tuesday, so sometime before then.”

I mentally scanned my calendar. “Tonight is probably best.”

What does one discuss at a marriage summit? I suppose that depends on the marriage, where it’s been, where it is, where it’s going.

I hadn’t yet told him my word for the year is “rest,” but it slipped without a hint of friction into these quiet moments — and we both agreed we want to live there. We spoke or didn’t as needed, comfortable silences punctuated by the sizzle and pop of the fire, leaning into our oneness and the One whose daily mercies paved a highway to this summit that stretches more than three decades long.

We touched on many things, but mostly we considered looming decisions and what we believe the Lord has been speaking to us about those matters in His Word. Insecurities defined lost their power. Fears exposed took flight. The fullness of our hearts poured out and distilled into one united desire: to know and do the will of God.

Since we were already standing at the door, he took my hand and we crept softly into the throne room of the living God.

We didn’t find easy answers in that holy place, but we found the Lord who goes before, who opens and closes doors, who knows, and rests in His knowing. We came away singing.

“You are the Song of my life . . .”

“Song I’ll be singing forever . . .”

“You chased the sorrow out of the rain . . .”

“Nothing You’ve touched is the same . . .”

“Hallelujah to the Ancient of days . . .”

“To the One who has purchased my fears . . . ”

“Hallelujah to the Mender of ways . . . ”

“To the One who has restored the years.”

This is the year of rest. And it’s off to a magnificent start.

Note: I hesitate to post a story like this, because it feels a bit like saying, “Oh, look how spiritual we are and how awesome our marriage is.” But then I remember that anyone who reads my words on a regular basis knows that beneath those cozy socks are bruised feet of fragile clay. So I share this snapshot of grace in the hope that someone or some couple out there who needs a reason to keep climbing will be encouraged. Peace to you and yours. Love, Jeanne



24 responses

7 01 2011
Anne Mateer

“Insecurities defined lost their power. Fears exposed took flight.” I love both the beauty and the truth of those words.

7 01 2011

Thanks, Anne. I love it, too.

7 01 2011

Such a gift. Such a wise man. Thank you for sharing these tender moments.

And Jeanne? I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and encouragement over at the Wellspring. That story was a difficult one to tell. Still feeling a bit vulnerable and shaken for have written it down. Thank you for seeing how difficult it was and honoring that with your words.

Here’s to choosing the better.

7 01 2011

Thank you, Laura. And you’re welcome with all my heart for the encouragement. It’s risky to put our hearts out there for everyone to read and possibly trample on, but isn’t that kind of truth and connection we all long for? I appreciate your willingness to risk it. Only time will tell (unless it keeps its secrets) how your vulnerability emboldened someone else to give in a similar way and what life came from the giving.

Here’s to choosing the better indeed! Cheers.

Love, Jeanne

7 01 2011
Melissa Smith

This is my favorite post of yours yet. The pictures made me feel like I was sitting by that warm & cozy fire, right there with y’all (I hope that’s not odd). It’s rare that I get to see a couple in their 35th year of marriage (is that right?) worshiping & seeking God. Not perfect, but still full of child-like faith. I love this. Thanks for posting!

7 01 2011

Thank you, Melissa! We’re in our 32nd year of marriage, far from perfect, but well acquainted with redemption and grace. And I think that’s better than perfect. 🙂 May the Lord bless and keep you and grant you the same.

Much love,

7 01 2011

I started tearing up when I saw the first picture of your socked feet together. I’m so proud to claim you both as my parents and to have your marriage as an example for Curtis and me. I love you, Mom!

7 01 2011

I started tearing up when I read “I started tearing up.” (Are we dweebs or what?) I cherish your words. We’re proud to be your parents, sweet Gracie. You bring us measureless joy, as do Curtis and Harper. What a gift you and your little family are to us.

I love you, too. Madly. xo

7 01 2011

When i grow up i want to be like daddy.


7 01 2011

That’s a very worthy goal, my son. Love Jesus and love Sarah, and you’re most of the way there. xo

7 01 2011

I love this! It didn’t come across as a “holier than thou” moment at all. I just got married and this is something I want to do too!

YouGot a good man. Keep.him!

7 01 2011

Thanks, Duane! I definitely plan to keep him. Blessings on your brand new marriage and home.

7 01 2011

Jeanne . . . thank you so *very* much for sharing this. I am a fairly young wife (only six years in – although, we definitely can’t claim newlywed-status anymore!) and I so very much long for stories of couples who are a little further along in the journey. I loved your “disclaimer” at the end. 🙂 Because those “snapshots of grace” seem to make all the elbow grease of marriage *more* than worth it. =D

And also, I am so thankful Ann linked to your blog, otherwise I never would have found you. I also wrote about rest today and although I hadn’t named 2011 yet, I had decided that rest would be my word as well. =D Praying for your Year of Rest to be full of the warmth and security that nestling under His wings brings.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

8 01 2011

I’m so pleased to meet you, Life in Limits, and delighted that this story encouraged you in your marriage journey! And what an honor that Ann led you here. She’s a treasure.

I love your prayer and echo it back to the Lord for you as well. Blessings on the new year to you and your family.

You’re welcome with all my heart.

7 01 2011

Aw shucks Jeanne. I started tearing up when I read the post too . . . and then to see your sweet children respond – your legacy – phew.
Lovely, lovely. Just like you.
I’ve missed reading your words. Glad to be making the rounds again and getting to sit at your feet and soak you in.
Love you, friend!

8 01 2011

Tina, you sweetie. I’m so glad you stopped by. Love and miss you, too! Glad you’re back in action. 🙂

8 01 2011
Beth Werner Lee

Thank you. Thank you.
21 years and hard at it!
Thanks for a glimpse of your lovely home, of a beautiful time, an example for those of us who need story examples not just lists of things to do.
God bless you this year, what is that verse? He gives rest to those he loves.
Grace and peace.

8 01 2011

You’re welcome, Beth, and thank you! I, too, connect with stories. I’m so glad this one encouraged you. May the Lord who is the author of our lives and our relationships give us the grace to keep climbing. Blessings on your marriage and home!

Love, Jeanne

8 01 2011
christina parker brown

beautiful! What a guy 🙂

9 01 2011

Thanks, Christina!

9 01 2011

As an unmarried 20-something woman, I appreciate your story and others like it so much. Seeing glimpses of marriages that are grounded in the only foundation that lasts – our Rock and Savior Jesus Christ – this is what the world needs. This is what I need, especially when you don’t see it growing up. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

9 01 2011

You’re welcome, Anna. We’ve weathered many storms and not always made the best choices in the midst of them, but one thing has always been constant. God has never failed or forsaken us, and He has redeemed every broken thing we’ve place in His hands. Blessings as you follow Him into all He has for you this day and in the days to come.

9 01 2011

I loved reading this. So many times I just put off discussing things with my husband, things big and things mundane, waiting for that elusive “better time” that never seems to materialize. Maybe I need to schedule a Marriage Summit soon. I wish my parents had done this!

I also loved and appreciated your disclaimer. Many times what is meant to be source of inspiration can come across as a source of envy or insecurity-producing comparison instead. It’s always good to know that we’re stumbling along this journey together, so grateful for daily grace and forgiveness.

10 01 2011

Thanks so much, Hannah, for your kind words and insights. I know what you mean about putting things off. I tend to do the same thing — to coast along without intentionally connecting — and I’m so thankful George took the initiative to request this time apart.

Daily grace to you.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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