On Top of the Clouds

by David & Claudia Arp
March 2, 2017

The illuminated seatbelt sign reinforced what I (Claudia) already knew—we were flying through severe turbulence. I checked the security of my seatbelt. When the weather is sunny and the winds are calm, I like to fly. But on days like this one, I’d rather have my feet on the ground.

And how was Dave handling all this turbulence? Looking over at him, I was simply amazed. He was actually sleeping! I desperately wanted to wake him up. What if it got worse? What if we hit wind shear?

  As I tried unsuccessfully to relax, I began to think about how flying in planes is similar to building our marriage. Over the years of our marriage, we’ve lived through turbulent times. Every marriage experiences turbulence. Of course, you want to avoid severe and extreme turbulence if at all possible. And while some marital turbulence can be avoided, at times you simply must fly through it. Unfortunately when some couples experience problems, their marriages crash and burn. We’ve dedicated our lives to helping couples avoid martial disasters—so what could I learn from this mental exercise?

About that time the pilot came on the loudspeaker and said, “As you are aware we are experiencing turbulence. For the next few minutes it will continue to be bumpy, since we are flying right on top of the clouds.” Oh, I thought. On top of the clouds! I began to relax a little bit now that I knew to expect a few more bumps. And with each bump, I tried to picture our plane skipping on the top of the clouds.

Suddenly I understood: it is possible to handle your fears of flying in bumpy weather or even turbulent times in a marriage if you know they are coming and if you stay on top of them!

The key is to stay on top of the clouds! Later, when Dave woke up (refreshed and unconcerned) I told him about the turbulence he missed and the pilot’s comments and my analogy. Our conclusion? The only way to avoid turbulence in marriage is to stay on the ground and go nowhere. And there are those static, boring marriages that do. But for couples who realize a little conflict is a given and who want to fly through it, their love for each other can grow. As our plane finely landed, we agreed we wanted to continue to grow through our own turbulent times. And from now on, when I’m faced with a rough flight, I’ll try to stay on top of the bumps!

 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.  ISAIAH 26:3