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We’re still together. But sitting at opposite ends of the couch though. Not saying much to each other as we go in, out, and about the house. Sharing the same bed, but not touching. Going to church together, but not making eye contact. The honeymoon phase is over. Being together doesn’t give us the tingles anymore.
It’s been some time since we were on the same page. We’ve each made independent decisions that met with disagreement from the other. Some days I wonder exactly who I married. I’m not as attracted as I was at the start. I roll my eyes a lot now. I sigh hard and breathe out troubled subtext until our living space smells of it. One might say our relationship is strained.
When the dissonance between us gets so loud that I can’t stand to be in the same room, I wonder where we went wrong. People said we would always be together. We started off so strong. Couples have said they wanted to be like us. Yet now there’ve been several months though—I don’t know how far back to start counting—when I have not been the happiest in this relationship. It’s not looking so great right now.
But I remember our song:
“In the middle of the madness
When the time is running out and you’re left alone
All I want is you to know that
It’s strong still
Can’t pull us apart
Nothing can come
Nothing can pull us apart… can come between us.”
I don’t know when it officially became our song, but whenever I hear Sade’s “Nothing Can Come Between Us,” I think of Jesus and I. I envision us as a newlywed couple having a first dance in front of so many witnesses. They have sworn to hold us to our vows. He’s the groom; I’m his bride. The contract says “until death do us part,” but even then…
“For I am convinced that neither life nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.” —Romans 8:38-39
That song stopped being about a man and woman’s mere romance long ago for me. It’s now a time capsule. I hear it and remember the way we started. I see the way we were. Who could predict any of the happenings to occur in the space between then and now? I hoped for the best then. I believed a lot then. I still believe some of it now.
Romans 8:38-39 became the most dear promise to me, the song, a symbol of it. I placed it in the center of the swept-clean floor of my heart while it was still new. It remained there dormant while I set about the business of piling the cares of this world around it. But the song still plays reminding me “it’s about faith, it’s about trust.” No matter how much doubt and debris accumulates, the lyrics don’t change. “It’s strong still. Can’t pull us apart.”
Some relationship experts say if a woman wants to have a successful relationship with a man, you have to examine his relationship with God. It’s an indicator of how he conducts himself within a commitment. There’s truth to that, because when Jesus and I hit a rocky patch a year or so ago, I wanted out.
So it’s good that I haven’t gotten married yet. Now I know how I regard commitment: as breakable. Deuces were chucked. I ran off, but I was hoping he’d run after me. It didn’t exactly happen that way. God did not chase me down in some public square to give me the cloying public declaration of love that mars the end of every romantic comedy. But he did run interference. He blocked me from getting as far away from him as I wanted to be. He keeps running interference somehow. He still loves me. He’s not doing what I wanted him to do, but at least he still loves me.
I don’t know if our relationship will ever again be the way it was. But I still expect the promise to hold true. Truth be told, it was his promise to me. And, out of the two of us, he really has the better track record with keeping promises.
“If we deny that we know him, he will deny that he knows us. If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is.” —2 Timothy 2:12-13
I don’t know what’s going to happen. I really don’t know. It’s not looking so great right now. It’s been some time since we were on the same page. But we’re still together. We are still together.