Not alone

No man is an island, no man stands alone, each mans joy is joy to me, each man’s grief is my own. We need one another, so I will depend, on each man as my brother, each man as my friend.

These lyrics to a famous song were on my mind as I thought about marriage recently. Our family attended a wedding in California recently and we stayed at a nostalgic flower farm. The bride and groom, a lovely couple, are moving to Texas after the wedding to start their new life together, and it was their wedding that caused me to ponder what I thought makes a good marriage.

When I was a little girl, I thought that the person I married would be someone who would always approve of me, and support me, no matter what. I have come to see that such a dependent relationship is dreamy but somewhat unrealistic. Is such a relationship attainable or even beneficial I now wonder. I have learned that the reason we have friends and family is because, like the song above, we are able to learn different things from different people, and marriage, as a foundation for family, gives us a strong starting point, not necessarily a clear path to our goals and dreams. But if we are living a life of right ideas, that path that is so clear to us, will eventually be communicated and understood by those around us as well.

I recognized as I thought back, that the times I benefited most, or learned the most, were times when I did not necessarily have the complete support or approval or help of friends or family around me including, sometimes, my husband. When I wanted to write my book or when I wanted to get my own job, I was grateful to have the encouragement of some of my kids, particularly one daughter, and my mom, but for the most part I had to have the drive to go after these things by myself.

I was silly to think that being married meant that two very different people would always want the same exact things all the time. But, gratefully, I have come to know that differences make us interesting and do not prevent us from achieving the life we wish to lead.

I find myself more and more often, turning to God more and relying on what God says to me every day with my randomly chosen bible verse. I believe that this reliance on God, which happens when human opinions seem fragile or support seems scarce, is the very thing to help us progress spiritually.

People can be mistaken, or fickle or controlling or at the very least uninterested. These things happens to every relationship but do not need to undermine us, and it does not mean that there is a lack of love. When we realize that our own purpose and goals have value, in spite of what others think, we will recognize how a reliance on an entity who is wholly good and wholly spiritual, will help us begin to make progress in tough times.

Jesus had close relationships with his apostles, and they believed in him, but, it is interesting to note that the hardest things he had to do in life, such as fasting forty days in the desert, or allowing himself to be captured in the garden of Gethsemane, he did without the support of those closest to him.

Instead he relied on prayer, and his spiritual relationship with his holy father.
Though this may seem far fetched or impossible, it is not. I have seen incredible “turn arounds” from bad situations to good situations with a radical reliance on God.

It is human to want everyone to agree with us and wish to think the same way we do, but we are individuals for a reason, and that individuality is something we should invest in and celebrate. It is “divine” to trust in the good that radiates from God. Truly!

There is no dream or problem too big for God…time to give him a shout out…he will respond.



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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.