Youth experience emotion at a level of intensity unbuffered by the mundane. For that reason alone, relationships magnify the necessity of learning to live with and accept the pure and the profane faces of our beloved. The stability of commitment is what enables a couple to hang onto the raft of their sacred vows when the storm of conflicting wills and desires threaten to sink the ship. And there will always be conflict. But God in His mercy gives us the refuge of safe companionship with our beloved- despite the fact that we may not always present at our prettiest. There is always the morning after, when the storm of anger has past, and we are left to clean the beach that is our life together. Storms wash up debris that is never suspected at sunset, when the waters are calm, deep, and the sensitive issues are hidden. We do not mean to clutter the beach, but storms are unpredictable, and our best refuge is in the shelter of promises made- ‘for better or worse’. The challenge is always to take the sorrow, and like a shovel, use it to dig deeper wells of joy. As a parent, I wish that I could protect my children from pain, but as a pilgrim on this journey to Beyond, I know all too well the mirrors and mysterious beauty that pain is able to bring forth in spirit. God knows too, and will not shortchange the lessons of love that we are meant to learn for the sake of temporary peace. Marriage is never a 50:50 proposal. It requires 100%. Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. I know this- it is timeless, tested, and truer than the finest note. This is my prayer, my blessing, and surest hope. God is faithful.

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