An Epic Romance
Updated: Mar 18, 2019
It was his whistling that caught my attention in the grocery store chip aisle, but the words, “What a beautiful smile,” that compelled me to linger.
A chance meeting? Some would say, “yes.” To us, it was anything but.
Chance had nothing to do with me coming back to my hometown or Robert moving here for a job a few months later. We just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary and moved into our first home together. Over these years, I've attempted on several occasions to write “our” story.
I've wanted to write a story of God’s redemption and providential timing, because that’s what it is, yet my words never seemed to do it justice.
I’ve wanted to portray it as a fairytale romance - and in many ways it is. But our relationship is also really hard. All marriage relationships are hard, but remarriage has an added bonus of difficulty. Especially after painful divorces.
There are many ways our story could be written, but the only way I'm interested in writing it is with God’s words - because ultimately it is His great love story!
Robert and I cling to countless truths, but when it comes to our marriage, there are two we believe with absolute certainty.
#1 We cannot have a successful marriage without Christ
#2 Marriage is a ministry.
On our first date we had the “Christian” talk. We sat side-by-side on a bench in the town park listening to cars drive by and rushing water plummet over the edge of the waterfall. I asked Robert, “When I say I'm a Christian, what does that mean to you?” Being satisfied with his explanation, I went on. “Saying I’m a Christian is more than just something I do. It’s who I am. It’s my life. We need to be on the same page with this, because it wouldn’t be fair to either of us if we tried to move forward without it.”
I guess when you date in your 40s and 50s there's really no time for beating around the bush!
As the sun went down on our evening in the park and the temperatures began to drop, we moved into Robert’s car. It was there we prayed together for the first time, Robert’s head against mine, and knew our relationship would only work if Christ continued to be THE center of it.
We wear matching wedding bands. We designed them together using the Bible verse we claimed as our own.
A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. Ecclesiastes 4:12b (NASB)
Our three strand cord is symbolized by two white gold bands and one yellow gold band. Christ is the yellow gold band running through the center of our rings. Robert is represented by the white gold band on top as the spiritual leader of our home. I am represented by the white gold band on the bottom coming under the strength and covering of Robert and Christ.
I wish I could say we ALWAYS exemplify this in our marriage, but we don’t. We know bringing Christ into each hardship, disagreement, and place of brokenness is the answer - ALWAYS - but in some circumstances it can take us awhile to get there. Either one of us (or both of us) can put ourselves in the “most important” spot and suddenly it's a battle against flesh and blood rather than a spiritual battle belonging to the Lord.
And, boy, the spiritual battles never cease do they?
Robert and I entered our marriage loaded down with baggage filled with similar lies, hurts, and defeats. As we attempted to live a new life out of these old tattered bags, we were experiencing the same results of our pasts. And it seemed as though our baggage was rapidly expanding rather than diminishing.
We know our marriage is meant to be a ministry glorifying God. People are watching us even when we don’t realize it. By God’s grace we've been a testament of hope and encouragement for others, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.
However, we believe God has more. That He will use our marriage as a bigger and deeper ministry.
Going back to the premise of a fairy tale marriage, I thought if we worked through all our issues and had all the answers, then God could use us. That is not true because we will never have all the answers. But we can point people to the One who does.
As we've prayed about how God may use us to minister to others, God made it remarkably clear how our ministry must first begin with one another.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
We asked each other this question - What is it I do that most demonstrates Christ’s love to you?
My answer came quickly because I can remember the first time I felt this - Robert ministering to me as Christ ministers to His bride. We were hiking Mt. Yale, our first Fourteener together. As we got to the most difficult stretch, when my legs felt like they were too heavy to reach the next raised rock, I saw Robert’s hand reaching out to me. He was there to lessen my burden without me needing to ask.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
In Robert’s offering of strength and protection, Christ is there. He is in Robert’s hands as he extends support to me.
When Robert answered this question, he referenced Mark 10:45.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The other day I tried to step in when Robert began cleaning a pan caked with dried pieces of scrambled eggs. He stopped me and said, “You just made me breakfast burritos for my work week without making one for yourself. This is the least I can do.” Robert says the time I devote to caring for his health and well-being as he works long hours is invaluable to him. I am thankful to lessen his burden without him needing to ask.
In my acts of service, Christ is there. He is my hands as I extend support to Robert.
Our story - the story of Robert James Taylor, Jr. and Amy Lynn Taylor - is one of the imperfect desiring to be led by the Perfect.
It is a story with an enemy. An enemy whose only intention is to harm us, divide us, and lie to us.
It is a story with a hero. God. God who is love, and truth, and the One who is intending to accomplish what is happening now, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20).
It is not a fairy tale, but with Christ as the main character, it is an epic romance.