A Weekend Away

Matt Shaner
3 min readJan 26, 2024

Val and I got married on the beach in Lewes, Delaware. We’d rented a house for the weekend just off the beach and had the ceremony across from the house. The reception was at a restaurant just down the road.

Our relationship started in high school. One night, standing under the streetlight in front of her house, she looked up at me and asked me, “why haven’t you asked me out yet?” I said I was waiting for something. She asked me what and I said I don’t know.

We are nearing twenty-five years together, more than half our lives.

There is something powerful about love, about finding that person you will spend your life with. I know the moment I knew it would be Val. I haven’t questioned it in all the time since. Love can lift you up. It bonds you to a person you agree to do life with. You travel, chase your dreams, have kids and figure out what it means to be a parent.

We are designed for love. God is an expression of all things good and positive. It took me a long time to understand what that meant. The bad things are not of God. Execution doesn’t equal authorship. The bad things come from human action and inaction. We are loved, yet we are free.

It is a tough balance to follow.

Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash

Love is an agreement to persist in the highs and lows, to be best friends, to be vulnerable. Love is finding the person you want to spend the most time with, to take their hand and walk forward into all that is to come. Love is have kids and dreaming of the days you’ll be grandparents, when you’ll look at each other and celebrate the fact that you made it through the storms.

Love is sitting next to each other on the couch and playing Words with Friends, multiple games, where you lose to your wife each and every time.

Love is caring and love is passion.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

What happens when we find ourselves looking across at betrayal, at a partner who just told us they might not want to continue moving forward. What do we do when all we had falls apart?

A friend of mine who is a counselor told me once that a marriage can be salvaged. This is true. It takes work and time. It is hard when bridges are crossed, though.

Words are powerful and, once said, they can’t be erased.

They can be forgiven.

So what does it take when you are faced with that conversation you didn’t plan for? Time. Patience. The choice to work on yourself at the same time you negotiate what the future may hold.

Some relationships will end. Some marriages will end. Certainly abusive and manipulative partners are not worth time and effort. Work on yourself. Take inventory. You are stronger than you think and your calling is higher than you can imagine.

Love creates symphonies and suicides. The difference? The divine and the human.

We aren’t perfect. The good news is that Heaven is coming back. Creation will be redeemed. If you are sitting tonight wondering how you got here, know that you are not alone.

We have a picture hanging in our house that says, The Joy is in The Journey.

The Joy is in the Process. In the Becoming.

Your steps are ordered. Even this one. Keep going and you will find your way out.



Matt Shaner

Matt Shaner is a writer, husband, father, and believer living outside Reading, PA. You can find his blog and other writings at matthewdshaner.com.