Rivers in the Desert

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2021! Most people flip the calendar from one year to the next in anticipation of a fresh start. This year is no different! With so many circumstances that remain out of our control, we think it’s a great idea to focus on something we can impact, our marriage. 

Many times, we start the year with grandiose plans to change something about ourselves or our lifestyle. “I’ll get healthier” or “I’ll work on my marriage.” While these are great ideas in concept, we often fail because they aren’t specific and attainable.

While on our Christmas road trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, we borrowed the movie What About Bob from one of the campground stores. If you aren’t familiar with this 1991 comedy, let us fill you in. Bob, played by Bill Murray, is so paralyzed by fear that he follows his pompous psychiatrist, Dr. Leo (Richard Dreyfuss), on vacation. Bob uses Dr. Leo’s advice from his book, Baby Steps, to overcome his fears, one tiny step at a time, all the while driving his mentor mad.

Our whole family cracked up watching Bob take baby steps to reach his mental health goals. Though it makes a hilarious movie, there is a concept there that rings true. If we can take one baby step at a time toward a larger goal, it will become more attainable. This works in fitness, finance, addiction, long-range planning, even in your marriage. No matter where you find yourself in your relationship, you can always take one more tiny step toward each other in 2021. 

What if you resolved to spend thirty minutes each night talking to your spouse without interruptions? What could it do for your marriage if you committed to going on one date night each month, or even better, one per week? Could the foundation in your home be stronger when hard times hit if you agreed to start attending church together in person or online weekly? Or if you started praying together regularly? 

We all enter 2021, hoping that it will be better than the year we have just come through. But if it isn’t, you and your spouse are going to need to lean into each other for strength. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 is a great encouragement for a fresh start to our year. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Though this OT verse is directly referring to what He will do with His people, Israel, we can also infer that God loves fresh starts and doing new things. He doesn’t want us to get stuck in past failures or sit back and rest on past successes in our marriage. It’s time to move toward the new life God wants to breathe into your relationship.

Over the next few days or weeks, ask God what new thing He wants to do in your marriage. He can make a way in the wilderness of your relationship. What seems completely dried up can spring forth rivers in the desert. And what is already good can become great. If you are willing to take a few baby steps toward your spouse, 2021 can be the best year yet! We pray that in the coming weeks and months, your marriage can be a refreshing river that flows through whatever desert this year takes you.

Enjoying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie

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