Sabbath, Part Two: 40 Years of Marriage

Last week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender and his wife Becky talked about the nature of Sabbath and the invitation to set aside time to rest, celebrate, and realign ourselves with the work of God in our lives and the world. Since the nature of celebration invites us to mark significant milestones, it seems fitting that this week, Dan and Becky are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Together, they reflect on what they have endured together and name what they have learned from each other in the past four decades.

Becky says one of the most significant lessons she has learned through marriage is the importance of not holding blame over another person, especially since, as Dan says, “In any interaction, we’re probably both right—and both wrong.” In contrast to blame, Dan and Becky talk about how their marriage has invited each of them to engage their own stories of harm, wrestling with those younger parts of themselves that shape how they relate to each other. Deep, meaningful story work has allowed both of them to extend grace and forgiveness to each other in ways they could not have otherwise.

Becky: “It’s amazing how those young parts still need to be understood and tended to. […] It’s so sweet to have a greater depth of understanding of my own broken places and how they have mended together.”

Dan: “We are one another’s primary attachment, and we do have a level of attunement and engagement and containment for one another. […] Marriage creates the context to be able to address trauma that you didn’t even know you had when you walked down that aisle.”

As they look toward the future, Dan and Becky realize that the years ahead may be marked by new experiences of pain, illness, and the hardships of aging. Together, they reflect on their hopes of how the ways they have grown together and the things they have learned from each other will continue to deepen their connection and shape how they approach the coming years.

Dan: “It’s crucial that a marriage be the context for healing—healing in the present, healing in the past, and anticipation of healing in the future.”