One of the earliest quotes in the book is:
"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined... to strengthen each other... to be at one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories."
~*~ George Eliot ~*~
I love this quote - I really do. I hope this is true for our marriage. I really want that, but I know it's a hard thing to learn and grow together. It will take some time. At least, that's the way it seems. I can't wait!
Later in the book, Dr. Dobson talks about a prayer his father prayed after they had spent some time with him:
And, Lord, we want to thank You for the fellowship and love that we feel for each other today. This has been such a special time for us... But heavenly Father, we are keenly aware that the joy that is ours today is a temporal pleasure. Our lives will not always be this stable and secure. Change is inevitable and it will come to us, too. We will accept it when it comes, of course, but we give You praise for the happiness and warmth that has been ours these past few days. We have had more than our share of good things, and we thank You for Your love. Amen.
I love how Dobson sums it up a few paragraphs later:
"Thank you, God, for what we have... which we know we cannot keep"...
If only we realized how brief our time on this earth is, then most of the irritants and frustrations that drive us apart would seem incredibly insignificant and petty. We have but one life to live, yet we contaminate it with bickering and insults and angry words. If we fully comprehended the brevity of life, our greatest desire would be to please God and to serve one another. Instead, the illusion of permanence leads us to scrap and claw for power and demand the best for ourselves.
This is true in any relationship. We're all incredibly selfish and always striving to make ourselves seem better than anyone else. And why? We're here for such a short time - why waste it on instant gratification? That's not going to get us anywhere. And, it's definitely not going to get us any further into God's kingdom. Loving God isn't about loving ourselves - it's about loving Him and, I believe, sharing that love with others.
Relationships aren't about ourselves. They're about being there for others by helping and loving each other along. In addition, happiness isn't really brought on by what we have, who we're friends with, who we're in a relationship with, or in what we're doing.
One of the last things Dr. Dobson says is, "Try not to care so much about every minute detail that separates you and your loved ones... Hold loosely to life and keep yourself free of willful and deliberate sin. That's the key to happiness." That is how I want my relationship with Shawn to be. I don't want it to be about myself and picking fights with him. I want it to be about loving him the best that I can. The little stuff that I so often make important, really isn't. What really matters is my relationship with God and how I love Shawn.