With all of the hype about marriage in the news lately, especially after Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A stating that his company supports biblical traditional marriage, I wanted to take a moment today to defend biblical marriage.
Why? Because today is my 41st wedding anniversary.
At age 19, I was intent on committing suicide. I even looked forward to it. Then God intervened and put a wonderful and beautiful 20 year old woman in my life. There were circumstances that should have prevented us from ever getting together, but God does work in miraculous ways and we met. Three and half months after our first date, we got married.
Mind you the next 7 years were pretty rough and if it wasn’t for our commitment that divorce was not an option, it would have been easy to walk away. But we both had that commitment and after nearly 40 members of her family praying for me for those 7 years, I realized that I needed to put Jesus Christ in the center of my life and in the center of our marriage.
Bringing Christ into the relationship totally changed the way I viewed marriage and my wife. I also realized that most of the problems we had been having were my fault, not hers and that I needed to make some drastic changes. It wasn’t easy changing old and bad habits, but with the loving perseverance of my bride, change I did.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t always a bed of roses after bringing Christ into the marriage, but He gives us both the strength and commitment to work through every situation we encounter. Marriage is hard work and I think that is where so many couples fail. They don’t want to work at making their marriage work. They want the other person to work and change, but not themselves, and that is not what marriage or love is about.
After 41 years together, I can honestly say that I love my wife more today than I ever have. Most of the emotions I had when we got married were more infatuation and lust than real love. This is another area where so many couples fail. They believe that love is what the other person does to make them happy or feel good. I learned long ago that real love is asking yourself ‘what can I do to please my spouse?’ What can I do to meet her or his needs?
This is Christ’s love and the example that He set for us. Realize that Jesus Christ is the Creator of the earth and part of the triune godhead. Yet, He lowered Himself not only to become human, but to be a servant. Recall the incident recorded in John 13 when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. In the culture of that day, the person that washed the feet of others was considered to be one of the lowest of servants. Our Creator lowered Himself to serve His disciples so why can’t I lower myself to help my wife when she needs it. Without making our marriage a biblical marriage, it most likely would have ended years ago. The reason so many marriages fail is that they aren’t biblical marriages.
I also learned long ago that placing her needs and desires over my own was far more rewarding than I ever realized. When I am able to provide for her needs and desires, I do so not for what I get out of it but because she is worthy of it.
If more couples could just learn these few simple principles, starting with making Jesus Christ the center of their marriage and following His examples, they too will be able to stand proud some day and announce that they have been married for 41 years.