Ron and I have a favorite song. We listened to it yesterday, snuggled next to each other on the couch. It was the middle of the afternoon, and we had just exchanged Valentine cards and candy. The girls were in the kitchen behind us, and they quieted down as Ron and I held hands and listened to Alan Jackson sing “Remember When” just for us from Ron’s iphone. (munching Swedish Fish and Reese’s Cups)
If you listen to “Remember When,” you’ll know pretty much all you need to know about Ron and I. It’s all there; every step in our lives together. Somehow Alan Jackson prophetically knew. I can’t read these lyrics without crying. Our love story is epic to me.
Remember When By Alan Jackson
o Remember when I was young and so were you
And time stood still and love was all we knew
You were the first, so was I
We made love and then you cried
o Remember when we vowed the vows and walked the walk
Gave our hearts, made the start, it was hard
We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
o Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other’s hearts
o Remember when the sound of little feet
Was the music we danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we’d never give it up
o Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin’ back, it’s just a steppin’ stone
To where we are, where we’ve been
Said we’d do it all again
o Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad
For all the life we’ve had
And we’ll remember when
o Remember when
“You were the first; so was I. We made love and then you cried. Remember when?”
I remember it well. It was a failure. One of our first failures together. We didn’t “make it to marriage.” Back then, it was a big, flippin’ deal. One of the first screw ups in a long line of screw ups. Telling my parents was painful. I struggled for many years with the “what ifs” of how my life could’ve turned out differently if I had obeyed God’s calling for purity and holiness. Our early years of marriage, that should’ve been vibrant and colorful, were grayed by our teenage failure. A raincloud of guilt followed – no chased – us through our twenties.
“And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged. We came together, fell apart, and broke each other’s hearts. Remember when?”
The lack of holiness in our dating years spawned more drama. We were unfaithful to each other before marriage and somehow we thought we’d leave that all behind when we walked the aisle together. We were dumb. If you lay a foundation on sandy soil, the house falls down when the rains come.
The rains came.
Our foundation collapsed and we found ourselves dealing with the pain of adultery. We broke each other’s hearts. Marriage was soooooooo painful. I was not turning out at all like I was supposed to. Raised in a Christian family, I knew exactly who I was supposed to be, and I fell so far from the mark. I hated me and I didn’t feel too peppy about marriage either.
(Look how confident I look in this picture! Ha!)
“Remember when the sound of little feet was the music we danced to week to week? Brought back the love; we found trust. Vowed we’d never give it up. Remember when?”
Yes, God was GOOD when we were not. God was FAITHFUL when we were faithless. He never gave up on us. He wasn’t nearly as mad at me as I was. He knew. He knew the failures were all more than necessary to bring about what was to come. Ron and I hung on by our pinky fingers and managed to stay in the ring long enough to see what God was doing. He had big plans for these two screw ups! We forgave each other. It took years to “bring back trust,” but it was worth the hard work.
When Ron forgave me – TWICE – for my unfaithfulness, I learned how to love and appreciate him in almost a reverent way. I look up to him and his kindness and his grace more than I could ever explain to you. Ron (and Jesus) taught this fickle heart the virtue of real true sacrificial love. I would rather die than ever bruise Ron’s amazing heart again. I believe I would’ve been a fickle, unfaithful woman no matter who I had married. I believe there was something broken and gross inside of me (sin) that was going to come out no matter what. What if I had married someone who had divorced me (because Biblically, that’s what I deserved!) instead of forgiving me?
“Remember when thirty seemed so old? Now, looking back, it’s just a stepping stone. To where we are, where we’ve been—said we’d do it all again. Remember when?”
I just told you about a lot of garbage. A lot of pain. A lot of doing it the wrong way. You may wonder: why is this their favorite song? Who would want to relive all that? But, friends, I swear to you: Ron and I would do it all again. We have come so far. We have learned so much! We are seeing the fruit of those times of hoeing and weeding. Sitting on the couch, Ron and I could picture it all as it happened. We listened to Alan Jackson croon and we saw the snapshots in our heads. We squeezed each other’s hands at each meaningful verse.
If you could play me a video of those painful days, I would watch them with a smile. The pain is gone. GONE. It was all necessary to make us who we are today. Today we are helping other couples hold on through the pain. Today we heard a testimony from another couple who said, “Since you and Ron started caring for us and our marriage, we are a changed, different couple. We’re so thankful.” Oh my gosh, people. The pain was so worth it. The fire burned out the garbage and the sin, and God is refining Ron and I into gold. Praise JESUS!
The power of Time. If you will hold on. If you will commit your way to the Lord, He will make your paths straight! If you will hold on through the tough, painful times, you will be blown away by the fruit of that pruning down the road. You (and that jerk or bum or adulterer etc. that you’re married to) will say, “Remember when?” And then you’ll smooch and make out in front of the kids to the sound of their grossed out noises. Ah, the sound of little feet 🙂