What the World Needs Now is Better Wine – Broken Together for Three Decades

Something has always baffled me about Jesus’ first recorded miracle. It seemed so pedestrian, really. He’s at a local wedding and Jesus’ mother learns they’ve run out of wine.

This seemed unfortunate but not really devastating. Surely not something I would imagine requiring divine intervention.

It’s kind Jesus has compassion on the host and turns the water in six stone jars into wine but was His first miracle truly inspired by a desire to spare a family mild social embarrassment?

For years, I’ve mulled it over, considered it, prayed about it, meditated on it, and frankly, trusted there must be more to the story.

Now, I realize, you must stick with a marriage for many years, through trial, sorrow, frustration, failure, sickness, hard times, and boredom to truly appreciate the miracle at Cana.

My husband and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.

A few years ago, dear friends celebrated their 30th. When they announced it on Facebook, dozens of people commented on the joy of a long marriage, even proclaiming that love gets even better after forty years!

The sheer number of friends extolling the benefits of long marriages and expressing appreciation for their spouses after decades of life together inspired me. There were plenty of references to hard times, but the general message was that love improves with the years.

It seemed almost revolutionary to witness this testimony in a culture that celebrates youth and young love.

We don’t talk about this subject often for some good reasons, I suppose. In my experience, the modern church works hard to be sensitive to those who have felt shut out and marginalized in the past. We want to care gently for those who have experienced the pain of divorce and never lead them to feel lesser than for in truth, they are not.

We all have brokenness in our lives and there’s no place for judging one type of brokenness as worse than another. The only marriages I know are unions between broken people.

Because of this sensitivity, we try to be careful with our celebration of long marriages, especially those of us who know what a miracle it is that we’ve arrived there! But, in a society that is ever enamored with youth, with newness, and with the intense passion of young love, those of us who have been married for a long time have a responsibility to those coming after us to speak up and say, “It gets even better!”

It was in thinking about this that I suddenly understood the significance of the miracle of Cana.

Our marriage has been like many others.

We’ve had some wonderfully joyous times and we’ve had times when I’d just have soon walked away from the whole sorry mess.

Of course, we began with intensity, with passion, and with a joyful newness of love but somewhere along the line, we both ran out of love for one another. At some point, we couldn’t remember the point. Our jars were completely empty and suddenly it seemed what was once a celebration of true love teetered on the verge of disaster.

That’s when I learned, however, there is a better love than the one I originally offered my spouse.

I am now eternally grateful that I ran out of my own watered-down version of love because when I did, I turned to Jesus for a miracle.

He showed up, just as He did at Cana, and transformed the watery love in my stone-cold jar of a heart into a love that was better than the first,

so that my husband and I can truly say, “Amazing, Lord, you’ve saved the best for last! Our marriage is better, richer, sweeter, and deeper than it was when we began.”

And it’s all because when we ran out of love, we opened up to Jesus and He poured Himself into the emptiness of our marriage, filled our broken spaces, and gave us His love to offer to one another.

Marriage is such a pedestrian affair we take the miracle of it for granted.

While movies are filmed about young love, novels are penned about forbidden love, and songs are composed about heart-breaking love, millions of marriages quietly testify to the steadfast, enduring, rock-solid persistence of God’s love for His church.

Many of us have reached that empty-hearted place and faced the temptation to abandon what seemed like a dry, cold jar of what was once a promising elixir of love. When we run out of love, the world says it’s time to move on.

Don’t be fooled by those of us who have been married for decades. It hasn’t all been wine and roses. Sometimes it was wine glasses hurled at bedroom walls and fingers dripping blood from thorns.

We know from the wedding at Cana, though, that when the wine runs dry, there is a source for better wine. Running out of love becomes, then, a gift, a nexus between us and the love that excels above all others.

The world truly does need love now, right now, but we need a better love than what we can muster of our own making.

Can you get love from a stone? The answer is yes.

If that stone is in the hands of Jesus, you can get a better love than you even imagined at first, a love that will fill you with such joy that all of life becomes an eternal celebration, the best wine, saved for last.

Casting Crowns has a song that says it so well. Broken together. You can listen to it here.

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    The Conversation

  1. Right on the mark, Lori! Thanks! Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. Bruce says:

    Carolyn and I just celebrated 34 years of being broken together.
    I’m FAR more in love with her now than at anytime before. Carolyn tells me that this is the happiest time of her life.
    Let’s celebrate what only God could have created. He actually does know more than we do about what success looks like.
    Sooo glad I hung in there, and that she did too!!!

  3. Melanie West says:

    I hadn’t yet taken much time to wonder about that miracle. I guess I had written it off as a story that showed that Jesus was submissive to his parents. I recently celebrated my 30th, and what you say about marriage is so true! I love this new way of seeing the Cana miracle. It fits my experience. It makes me very glad that the party didn’t end when the ‘’lesser wine’ ran out!

  4. Jan Clough says:

    Dear Lori thank you for sharing so honestly the joys and the ‘ not so joyous ‘ journey through marriage, I echo every word.
    I thank The Lord for His divine intervention when a suitcase seemed the best, and if l am to be honest, only option.
    I feel at times there is a grieving process in marriage for the passion and longing of those earlier days, however, it is as you expressed so well, replaced with a depth of love that can only come form journeying through valleys and mountain tops.

    Happy happy and blessed anniversary to you both. Well done!
    Jan Clough UK

  5. Sid says:

    Corinne and I will celebrate our 52nd anniversary this summer (if the Lord tarries). It has not always been easy, not always good; but we began with an understanding that this was a permanent union with no escape clause. The first 17 years were without Christ in the relationship, and His presence has made a tremendous difference. However, even that presence did not smooth over all the bumps along the way. It really took a willingness to die to self and realize that the gifts God had given us were to be shared with one another, not hoarded or monopolized. When we esteem one another, we smooth the road together.

  6. Lori Landry says:

    Lori Jesus was asked by his mother Mary to do something. He did.
    I considered divorce at the 25 year mark. The lawyer said I would have to support my husband who was laid off and no job in several years. I decided to be happy,not bitter, and kind to him regardless. My relying on Jesus intensified. He never let’s me down.Thorough celebrate recovery, and counseling I learned I am broken too. Now 35 years married.
    I’ve accepted not what it was not my best friend. Every day with Gods help he helps me to love Al through it all.

  7. Nancy K. Sullivan says:

    Our 47th Anniversary was so quiet this year, I had to intentionally call it back into my memory. It almost got lost in the chaos of today. I call our lives now “living in the sweet spot”. And I’m thankful everyday that we never gave up … at the same time. There were days. Love this post. Happy Anniversary!

  8. Carla says:

    Love this…thank you for explaining the miracle at the wedding by comparing it to our marriages. In our society of everything is disposable,I was guilty of this kind of thinking. It wasn’t until 3 yrs ago, once I surrendered everything to Him that my eyes were open! His love in me changed my feelings toward my husband radically.Instead of wanting out I wanted in, deeper.Jesus changed everything in my life, by His love.

  9. Lori Hatcher says:

    Well said and beautiful, Lori. Congratulations. May the Lord bless you with many, many more. The best is yet to come!