Partners in Adventure
By Jacqueline J. Overpeck
Toasting sparkling cider, my husband Arnie proudly announced, “To my partner in adventure!”
I took a deep breath, looking inquisitively into his gleaming green eyes and smiled. We had just flown from Dallas, Texas, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and I was exhausted. I sipped my cider with one free hand (the other hand still wrapped snug in a ratty-crocheted snow-covered mitten.)
“Here we are,” I thought to myself, “celebrating our anniversary at a remote lodge with howling sled dogs outside. No doubt, we are in for an adventure.”
We cuddled by the fire, and the moment was everything that we imagined it would be, but somehow something was wrong. Whatever it was had my insides somersaulting the Alaskan king crab that we had earlier that night for dinner. Our Yukon dreams were about to come true, and by all rights, I should have been relaxing and enjoying the moment. Instead, I was secretly worrying that I might let my husband down. He had just called me his “partner in adventure.”
Facing our expectations
What is a partner in adventure? I thought to myself. And can I live up to my husband’s expectations? My mind instantly clouded with inhibitions, and my sense of acceptance waned. I wanted to discuss how I was feeling with Arnie, but instead, I tucked myself cozily in beside him, and I decided to wait to talk about it until the next day.
Excitement filled the chilly air as we awoke the next morning to a winter wonderland. Later that evening, we planned to head out with a guide in a snow cat to the top of a nearby mountain where our lodge had a heated yurt for northern light gazers. We had been told that sometimes the lights are more active than others, and that the patterns are unpredictable. Sometimes you see a beautiful display of color and splendor dancing across the sky – after only waiting half an hour; while other times, sky watchers wait in the cold up to four hours and witness nothing but their own frosty breath.
Arnie’s expectation for the evening was to stay on top of that mountain as long as it took until he witnessed the northern lights. My expectation was to hope to see the lights within the first hour and then promptly return down the mountain and head straight for the lodge’s natural hot springs pool for a soothing soak.
We had a problem. Our ideas were about to collide and we might need a heavy duty snow shovel to sort our blizzard of expectations out. We decided to sit down and hear one another out. Some of our views and expectations about our adventure to Alaska were the same, but many were different: I dreamed of going on a dog sled ride, and touring the marine life center in the costal town of Seward. While Arnie’s passions were stirred by thoughts of flying to the northern most point in North America in a Cessna bush plane to tour the Eskimo village of Barrow, and see the Arctic Ocean.
Accepting one another
Open communication helped us to clear the air. We worked through our different ideas and expectations over several cups of marshmallow topped cocoa. I admitted, “I want to be your ‘partner in adventure,’ but I am concerned that I might not be able to participate in (or enjoy) everything that you want to do.”
We reached the conclusion that it is all right to be different. We are not always going to like and enjoy the same things and that is what makes us unique as men and women. It is not always easy to patiently understand one another’s differences, but we agreed that is where acceptance plays a key role.
We sat together and considered God’s example – He accepts us, just as we are, we concluded. We were beginning to understand that to be partners in adventure we needed to acknowledge God’s gift of acceptance in our own lives first.
As we continued to share, Arnie commented, “God listens with great care to our concepts, plans, and ideas, and while our thoughts and ways are not His, He always directs our steps toward a closer relationship with Him.”
We recognized that acceptance leads to closeness. Next, we began suggesting some practical ways that we might be able to show our acceptance to one another – like a hug instead of becoming distant and a smile in place of moodiness.
Honestly accepting one another’s thoughts and feelings is very important, but it is a sensitive area. We all have pockets of pain, or tender places in our hearts that cause us to react and respond certain ways in certain situations. When we encounter these ‘pockets of pain’, we wait for the right time to stop and sort through the situation by talking with, accepting, and praying with one another.
Lights from heaven
As we talked about our ideas for the trip, we finally reached an agreement about the sled dogs, the Arctic ocean, and our plans for that particular evening – the northern lights. We decided that although we were both so charmed by the magic of the northern lights that we might name our first born daughter “Aurora” we would put a time limit on how long we would stay on the mountain to wait to see the lights – no more than two hours.
Later that night, as we sat huddled together leaning up against a yurt in the artic north we felt like kids on an expedition. We were filled with tremendous joy, intimacy, and adventure. Before long, two hours of sky watching passed, and to Arnie’s great disappointment, there were no lights. He kept his word, and we went back down the mountain to change from snow suits and scarves into bathing suits for a dip in the hot springs.
Snow flurries, and steamy water were all around as our toes squished into the sand at the bottom of the hot springs. As we looked up… we saw lights from heaven! The northern lights were dancing in mysterious curtains across the midnight sky. Arnie’s face lit up as bright as the lights. I was thrilled for him. He gave me a quick kiss and then stared into the night.
No, the lights were not as clear or bright as they would have been up on the mountain, but that was ok. We cherished the lesson we learned that day: acceptance in marriage holds brilliant surprises.
Receiving acceptance from God
It is not always easy to address tender issues like our expectations, but when we do, our hearts experience healing. As we open our hearts to receive God’s acceptance, and share it with one another, it brings a fresh perspective. We begin to see ourselves from God’s point of view.
God has accepted you as you are today. He considers you worthy to be deeply loved and understood. As you open your heart to Him, He will lift the restrictions and limitations that have held you back. Through the Lord Jesus you can begin confidently pursuing your passions, both as an individual and with your spouse.
Why not look up and receive God’s acceptance in your life today – and then share what you receive from heaven with your partner in adventure?
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my heart to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Find peace with God.
More marriage articles on CBN.com
Jacqueline Overpeck is a freelance writer and works full time as Web Content Editor for Benny Hinn Ministries. She and her husband, Arnold, are both CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers Services) graduates. They enjoy the outdoors, and traveling in their spare time with their Maltese dog, Coconut. Visit Jacqueline at www.JacquelineOverpeck.com.
© 2007, Jacqueline Overpeck. Used by permission. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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