ROSCOMMON, MI – One hour into our canoe trip and I was beginning to think maybe marriage was a bad idea. No, we were not married yet but we were engaged. How could I marry someone who obviously had no idea how to paddle a canoe, keep us out of the bushes, or just keep balanced. Needless to say our conversation (arguing) and sarcastic remarks did not bring out the best in each other. I was a big selfish jerk, she was a frustrating human being, and we were supposed to be having fun!
Two hours later and still in the canoe we couldn't go in a straight line or keep off the shallows, but we were laughing and cracking jokes in the rain. It turned out to be one the best memories we share now as a married couple of twenty-two years. Yes, I can still be a jerk, and yes, I now realize she is perfect (she will probably read this article). The point is we worked it out. We were stuck in a canoe. Working it out, and working together was the only way we could reach our destination. Together we were still a mess, we weren't going to win any canoe races, but together we could survive and finish the trip and amazingly love each other even more than we did before.
My wife and I have discovered that if we choose to let problems and circumstances pull us apart, they will. If we choose to lean on each other, we become stronger and closer as husband and wife. Of course, frustration, blame, selfishness and "strong" discussion still happens from time to time, but humility and forgiveness brings us and keeps us together. In our relationship with Christ, we make the same choice. We can choose to back away and blame Him, or with humility and by asking forgiveness, we can lean into Him and discover a strength and depth of relationship like we have never known. The more we learn to trust Christ in the canoe trips of life, the easier it is as a couple to do the same. We have decided that being stuck in the canoe is okay as long as Jesus is in it too!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Schatz, State Director of Spiritual Enrichments and Retreats since March 1, 2017 when he moved from the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. He and his wife Jackie have 3 children, Julia, Noah, and Emily.