Darlene rustled around in the kitchen-trying spy out her favorite candle holders that she stored way in the back of the corner hutch. On tiptoes, Darlene leaned over and reached deep, she could see them, the pair of crystal wedding sticks given to them by her husband’s grandmother. She still remembered opening this particular gift after twenty-five years of marriage.

Terry’s grandma could be such a hoot. Telling us more about her wedding night than we ever cared to know as we nervously sat anticipating our own forthcoming marriage. Darlene, if she was remembering correctly, considered Grandma’s advice about keeping romance a high priority, citing her then snoozing hubby as supporting evidence. See how happy we’ve been? It’s because we always take some time for ourselves that means no kids, no work, and no interruptions.

It’s important, she said with authority. And there we sat, drinking in every word partly because we were young and naive and partly due to the fact we were afraid not to. Darlene pulled out the candle holders and inspected them carefully. Delighted that they had weathered so many years of use, Darlene took great pains to clean them up before placing them on her dining room table.

With their two college kids away during the school year, both of them were free to throw themselves more freely into advancing their respective careers. At first, Darlene was thrilled to make headway at a job change she’d desired for years. Terry, too, was glad to have the opportunity of working overtime if need be without having to feel guilty for not being home on time for dinner with the family.

Both Darlene and Terry had made allowances for other’s busyness. Then one early evening when the two of them were finally at home together, Darlene began to realize how little they had left to say to one another. It frightened her. Promptly, Darlene started scheduling in "at-home" date nights where they would enjoy a special dinner and some music, the perfect setting for quality conversation. Terry agreed to set aside work for this weekly engagement, and for the first few weeks, it went without a hitch.

But soon, Terry was finding it harder and harder to push work responsibilities aside for time with Darlene. Being warned that he might not make it the following evening, Darlene felt like giving up. Going to bed that evening, Darlene felt like giving up, but instead, she prayed, Lord, find a way to release Terry from his obligations tomorrow. The next morning, Darlene woke up the newscaster issuing a citywide warning to stay off the streets that day. Unbeknownst to Darlene, their southern town had endured an ice storm and a drop in temperatures so severe that the highways were covered with ice. Looking outside, Darlene could hardly believe her eyes. Wow, when you do something, Lord, you do it in grand style.

"The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous,
Bright eyes gladden the heart;
Good news puts fat on the bones."

Proverbs 15: 29, 30

Dear Lord,

I really cannot fathom how timely this act of God has occurred. All I asked for was a few hours of time with my spouse and you blessed me with an entire day. Thank you, Lord. Some might call it coincidence, but I call it a gift from on high. I am so grateful for the precious hours we are able to spend together. I pray that this short retreat from our daily obligations would spur us on to more and more private times.

In recent months, I have been so aware of how easily relationships slip. When our children were home, we worked hard to get time away. Of late, we’ve become lazy and now we’re paying a high price for such neglect. Lord, place within us both a renewed desire for rekindling our love one for the other. Help us to have the self-discipline to set aside other responsibilities and place our marriage in it proper place of priority. Make us strong where we have been weak. Bind us together within the bounds of your love. Let our years together continue to be ones of unity, accord, and genuine love.


"I think about the light of Christ rectifying the sin by which came death to the world, even when I am just lighting two thin tapers over dinner. The Light of Christ, I sometimes say to myself, Thanks be to God."

Lauren F. Winner in Mudhouse Sabbath

Copyright 2009 Michele Howe

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{italic}{bold}Michele Howe{/bold}, also writes a women’s lifestyle column, "Embracing Life’s Curves," which is offered through the Syndicated Writers of America. Visit {url http://www.buystory.com}the BuyStory website{/url}, to see additional commentary. Her email address is {email jhowe@toast.net}jhowe@toast.net{/email}. © copyright 2007 by Michele Howe{/italic}