This is our bench. We bought it about ten years ago and it’s become our spot to sit, especially in the mornings when we have coffee. It wasn’t a particularly fancy or expensive bench, but now it’s part of the family because it’s where we do life.
(Yes, we live in Illinois so there is a massive part of the year where it is too miserable to consider sitting outside. Those endless months make us sad and we make do and try to find a quiet place inside. But it’s not the same!)
So much of our life and marriage has happened on this bench. Talking through the daily grind and the major family decisions. Planning and dreaming. Praying for our kids. We were on this bench (on our old front porch, lol) when the word “Peoria” started coming into our conversations.
This bench has also seen a whole lot of us trying to resolve the stuff that we were trying to resolve, y’know? Working through misunderstandings and learning to use those “I” statements. But one thing we noticed is that we have better conversations and resolve conflict better when on our bench. We learned in our premarital counseling was watching how we position ourselves when we talk, especially during an argument. There’s something about being across from each other and “in your face” that makes you feel attacked. When we are side by side, we both let go of our defenses a little quicker. It reminds us that we are on the same team. Side by side reminds us of our friendship. It’s our safe place to process the hard emotions and put names to what we’re experiencing.
I love our bench. We don’t always get it right but we always have this bench to come back to. Maybe we’re feeling disconnected, hurt, overwhelmed. God has been faithful to meet us where we are, and that’s often right here. He reminds us that he has never given up on us, so neither should we.