“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely hind, a graceful doe.” Proverbs 5:18
Beth Ann’s post got me thinking about my own marriage, also one which has also required perseverance. We’re both strong willed, complicated people. Over the years we’ve had financial problems, problems with teenagers, conflicts with relatives, disagreements with each other, job stress, depression, anxiety, etc.. It seems like just when one area straightens out, a new problem crops up. That’s life, I guess. Or at least life in a sinful world. Yet we’ve managed to stick with it for 46 years. As older folks, we’ve reached a kind of contented plateau. The kids are grown and on their own; careers are over or winding down. Finances are settled, for better or worse. Instead of striving for the next big thing, we’re looking back at how we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished …and for the most part, we’re satisfied.
One special thing about a long marriage is knowing so many different aspects of your spouse. Yes, I could be widowed and marry again, but nobody but Terry would remember me as a teenager, a college student, or a young mom. No other husband would share the birth of my children, my first “adult” job, all the years of growing in Christ and so much more. I once read a book where the main character said something like this, “in this house we are not just two old people — we are all the people we have ever been.”
Like Beth Ann, I wish I could convince people, it’s worth the hard work. If you are married to the love of your youth, rejoice! Let’s hear from some other lady bloggers, what do you have to tell us about the marriage relationship?
Marriage is like taking that huge step off a cliff and not knowing how it’s all going to end. But for most marriage starts with two people, deeply in love, that commit to stay with each other until death do us part. We have stars in our eyes and we know that life is going to be so wonderful. Then the problems start.
Most marriages today don’t have the commitment factor that they used to. Yes, I know that people have stayed in miserable conditions just because they married the person they have come to hate. It takes two to commit together, two to stay together. Two hearts need to stay as one. During the wedding God knits two totally separate people and makes them one.
Now, my marriage wasn’t the greatest. Both my husband and I had problems. We actually separated for awhile and then came back together. We learned to live together and we had a good relationship. Was it the wonderful lifetime that I imagined when we stood at the altar, no. It was hard work, but we made it through. My husband has been gone for over two years now and I can look back and see all the good and bad. One of the good things is that we were committed to keeping the vows, to stay together through it all. And we did.
This song by Andrew Peterson totally pulled at me from the first time I heard it. It is so truthful. We should take the words to heart. We shouldn’t just walk (or tiptoe) through the minefields in a marriage, we should go dancing through them. Sail through the storms. Knowing that Jesus is the Lord of the relationship should cause us to rejoice. So, let’s go dancing!!
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they will keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Something is drawing me back to Ecclesiastes, the book that Leslie blogged extensively about last month. The verses above have been used to describe the unions of both marriage and friendship. When we go back to the very beginning, God said,
“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18
According to the author of Ecclesiastes we’re meant to live in relationship, in union with others. With a friend or a mate, life is easier, safer and more comfortable. We will be happier and accomplish more. But did you notice anything else? In every relationship there must be a third component — that’s God. God is the glue that holds every human union together. Without Him, we’re bound to eventually break apart on the rocks of our own selfishness and sin. It’s the third strand in the cord that keeps them going.
So, we don’t need to just have a relationship with God, we need to make God a part of every relationship in our life. Peace, joy, patience, kindness, love, self-control–no union survives without them, and we can’t manufacture them on our own. They’re gifts of the Holy Spirit. So as Charles Spurgeon once said, “Let the lion out of the cage.” Don’t keep God penned up except for Sunday mornings–let Him into your marriage, your friendships, your workplace, your family. Let Him transform all those relationships.
There was a recent article in our local newspaper, featuring a couple who had been married 74 years! Wow, what an accomplishment! My husband and I have a long way to go to top that (we’re babies at 45 years of wedded bliss). It made think about how unity grows over time. Yes, there is probably an instant attraction and feeling of compatibility, but over time two people work together, learn how to complement each other, come to understand one another more and more, until finally the union becomes so complete that it’s hard to imagine life alone. When my husband is gone for a few days, I start to feel uncomfortable. My routines are disrupted; there are things I want to share or ask. Life just isn’t right. When he’s teaching Bible Study, I’ll make a comment or ask a question and he’ll say …”You’re jumping ahead….I’m getting to that very topic …in a minute…” We’ve trained our brains until we think along the same lines. Of course, we’re don’t always agree. He supplies the logic, I supply the feelings. We complement one another, and have come to rely upon the other in areas where we are weak. We’ve had to adjust who does what chore depending upon both personal preference, and time and job constraints. We’ve balanced two careers, two children, and two large extended families as well as we could. It’s been quite an journey and it’s not over yet.
I’m sure everyone won’t agree, but I think our union with Christ and His church grows, too. There is often an original event — for many of us it is our baptism, but it can be one of those “aha” moments when we realize that God has taken hold of us, and we’re His for good. Like our marriage, we start to do things together: we pray, study His word, worship and sing. We become active in the church, we use our gifts, we serve Him with others. We learn what we’re good at, and where we need help. We understand more and more until we can’t imagine life without Jesus and the family of God anymore than we can imagine life without our spouse. In fact, as much as I love and depend upon my husband, I love and depend upon Jesus even more. Lutherans call this journey sanctification, and it’s never complete in this life.
So readers, what do you think? Does unity happen like a clap of thunder, or with a process of continuing cultivation? Or both? I’s like to hear your thoughts.
This is a poem I wrote years ago to my husband. It’s my attempt to describe how two very different people become one in their shared journey through life. It reminds me of this verse from Genesis: “Then the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Every love is a poem
in a foreign language
with two possible translations.
Every love is a story
with two different authors
narrating the same plot.
Every love is a work of art
molded and perfected
by two visions of beauty.
Every love is a song
written in two keys
sung with one voice.
Every love is a journey
through two countries
Every love begins and ends
Who made us for one another.
I have been a wife for many years now (11 to be exact). I met my husband when I was still a teenager, dated him for several years, and married him right after graduating from college. In many ways, we have grown up together, learning how to manage all of the responsibilities that come along with being an adult. He suffered through the first few years of my bad cooking, white shirts dyed red in the washing machine, and cars that broke down because I forgot to service them. I suffered through his general messiness, beers of the world collections, and inability to be on time for anything. Through it all, our friendship and love has grown and matured.
Yesterday, I was in charge of hosting an open house. It was a horrible day- cold, windy, and raining. The thought of setting up my signs in the rain had put me in a grouchy mood all morning. To my surprise, when we arrived in town, my husband insisted that I stay in the car while he set out all the signs. Despite the fact that he was going to have to spend the day soaking wet, he still did what he could to make my day better and more manageable. Aren’t I lucky? In a day in time where so much of our social media focuses on feminism and equal rights and how men are ‘holding us down’, we rarely hear about the husbands quietly supporting and caring for their spouses. Going to work every day, and working hard to support their families.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
So today, I just want to give thanks to my husband, and hope that he gives thanks for me too!!
There is a good zeal that can lead a married couple to God and to everlasting life. Practice this zeal then, with most fervent love.
- Be the first to show respect
- Support with patience one another’s weaknesses, whether they be of body or character
- Compete with one another is showing mutual obedience
- Do what you consider useful for the each other rather than what is useful for yourself
- Love one another with sincere affection, and have a loving fear of God. Prefer nothing whatever to Christ. May He lead you together to everlasting life.
Adapted from the Rule of St. Benedict. Apply it to any relationship!
“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two, but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:6-9
My morning devotional reading yesterday was from the story of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and Sarah made many mistakes–lying, cheating, becoming angry, laughing at God’s promises. Sin was part of their life together. However, God was part of their lives as well. They followed God for decades, through difficult times and together they built the family which would become God’s chosen people. Into that family was born the Savior of the world, Jesus.
Marriage was one of the first gifts God gave to man. In marriage, we can learn to serve and love another person unconditionally. In marriage, we can have lifelong friendship and companionship. In marriage, we have the opportunity to do great things for God.
I know too often, I take my marriage for granted. Sometimes I even gripe and complain about my husband’s flaws or the habits that irritate or annoy me. Like Abraham and Sarah, sin is part of our lives; but grace is there, too. Together we have raised a family, studied the Bible, served the church and experienced most of life’s major milestones. Nobody knows me better than my husband. Nobody has forgiven me more often. Nobody else has supported me as frequently. Today I’m going to give thanks for the blessings of 40+ years with the same person. If you’re married, I hope you will do the same.
Remember God loves you and so do I!