35 Years in the Making

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Remembering When . . .

October 18, 1980 - I stood in the Pastor's office not sure what to expect. I was glad for the support of my brother, my best friend, and two other men. Still, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've never walked this road before. I never had to face the situation I was about to face. But I knew I had to be a man about it. The Pastor simply asked, "Are you sure?" I answered "Yes." Was that all the pastor was to say?.

I walked out of the Pastor's office followed by my brother, my best friend, and the two other men.We stopped. An organ was playing softly. My brother-in-law had just finished singing a beautiful song. Nothing seemed real. Standing in the middle of a large room we turned to face a bright light. As we stood still watching, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen came forth from the light and walked toward me.

The Pastor began in earnest. "Repeat after me." I was glad I was repeating, not trying to remember any special lines because I know it would have never come out right. I wasn't even sure if I'd repeat them right. Somehow my mouth opened. I, William, take thee, Deborah, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee myself to you."

My life changed in an instant. i would never be the same again. Two had become one, with a new identity, and new responsibilities. The other two men? Oh yes, they had become my brothers-in-law,

Many said it would never last. Many thought we were too young. Many just couldn't see the point. But 35 years later I can truly say It's been worth every minute, and I definitely see the point. The point is, my life would have never been as fulfilled as it is if I had remained single. The point is everything I am and have become I owe in large measure to that woman who put up with me for the past 35 years of her life.

No marriage is perfect. I wish it could be; but the learning, the growing, wouldn't take place without the challenges, and yes, the heartaches. The strong bond that is formed was never meant to be broken, and only by God's grace can I say we have been able to get through the problems of life thus far.

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The Devastation of a Broken Marriage

It breaks my heart as I look around at all the devastation that takes place through broken marriages. Lives are often shattered beyond repair. The precious children are the ones who pay the highest price. The stability is gone from their lives. Their self-confidence and self-worth have been severely diminished if not completely destroyed. I don't take my marriage for granted for a second. I'm quite aware that I could be in the same destructive situation so many couples find themselves in today.

The norm in America today seems to be, "What's in it for me?" If my needs aren't met, I'll move on. If I'm not happy, the grass is always greener on the other side. Oh really? I doubt that. It's about what the one can bring to the table to benefit the other. It's about placing someone else's interests and importance above your own. It's about including God in everything. After all, He's the One that brought the two of you together (whether you realize it or not),.

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A Healthy Love Triangle

Yes, you heard right - a healthy love triangle. A marriage of two rarely works, but a marriage of three is guaranteed if all are kept in proper perspective. It's the Spirit of God that glues the marriage together. A successful marriage consists of husband, wife, and God. We have come so far away from what marriage is meant to be. It might be good if we go back and look at the original purpose.

Genesis 2:21-24 gives us the account of the very first marriage. "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

The first garden wedding was held in a place called Eden. The word Eden means a place of pleasure and delight. Marriage is meant to be a pleasure and delight as well. God Himself gave away the first bride. The marriage was meant to include God as the newlyweds spent the days in His presence.

Back to Basics

Ephesians 5:25-28 tells us this. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself."

It's time men, to man up. Marriage is to be a picture of Christ and His church. The New Testament church is betrothed to Christ. Christ loved us sacrificially and with great cost, even unto death. Men, are you loving your wife that way? If not, there could be problems down the road. Your main call is to love your wife sacrificially. Don't expect her to jump every time you think you need something from the fridge. Jump for her once in a while. Be willing to die for her because that's what Christ did for you.

I hear you say, "Yeah, but you don't know my wife." I don't need to. Your family responsibility is to love your wife no matter what. Then I hear you say, "Well, what about my wife? What is she to do?" I'm glad you asked.

The directive to the wife is given in I Peter 3:1 - " Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. . . ." The word subjection means to subordinate or to be under obedience. I know that's a hard pill to swallow. You are to obey and follow the leadership of your husband - even when he's wrong. You have to teach him to be accountable and responsible. That's something we men have a hard time learning. Let us fall, but pick us back up again.

The thing is this - as we keep God at the center and we husbands love unconditionally, that will make an impression on our wives. When they see they are accepted for who they are, no matter what - I repeat, no matter what, they will willingly submit to your leadership. When they feel safe with you they will go anywhere, do anything, as long as you're loving them unconditionally. In turn, their submission will cause you to love them more which will cause them to submit to you more. And when I say submission, I'm not talking slave ownership. I'm talking about men loving them with your life.

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Keep Centered

If God is removed from the center things will probably fall apart quickly. If the center is removed we have two individuals, but with God in the middle, two are linked together as one. The last 35 years have not been without shakeups. The trials of life will always be there, but broken marriages are meant to be fixed, not tossed out. It takes effort. It takes patience. It takes self-sacrifice. But 35 years later I can say without a doubt, it has been worth it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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Comments 31 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 13 months ago from Olympia, WA

A beautiful article, Bill...a beautiful message....a testament to love!


Norine Williams 13 months ago

Great understanding of "A Marriage" Bill - "As Christ is to the Church" says it ALL and is why I continue to say "What GOD has joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matt 19:6; Mark 10:9)!

Question: Do all think "God joined" all marriages? If so, fooling one's self! Why divorce rate so high! Christ = Holy; The CHURCH (not church) = Holy! Is this the way we enter marriage "As Christ is to Church?"


lambservant profile image

lambservant 13 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Happy anniversary to you and DeborAh. This was very touching. The only thing that is missing is a photo of you two. A wedding photo perhaps. God bless you both.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 13 months ago from southern USA

Happy Anniversary, Dear Bill! Thank you for sharing of your beautiful marriage. I just celebrated my 37th wedding anniversary on September 16. It is always a blessing to know of marriages that last, especially in these times here when it seems far too many are throwing in the towel just after a few years.

God bless you both!


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 13 months ago

Remarkable line..."35 years later I can truly say It's been worth every minute," a great testimony to successful "love one another ." Congratulations.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Good Monday morning to you, Bill. I'm on my way over to the mailbag. Thanks for stopping by.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Norine,

God may not join all couples, but that doesnt change the fact that they have become one flesh. If they stood at an altar and took vows before God, they are still responsible whether they are Christian or not, or whether they took it seriously or not. Maybe it wasnt Gods plan for them to marr, but they are still accountable for their wrong actions. I think the reason the divorce rate is so high is because most dont take their vows seriously. Thanks for taking the time to read.

I apologize. My apostrophe key is sticking.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Lori,

I thought about a picture, but then it kind of left my mind. A lot of things leave my mind these days. Maybe Ill update it soon. Thanks for the reminder.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

. . . and Happy belated Anniversary to you, Faith. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by, read, and comment. And so glad to hear of your lasting marriage as well. Have a great week!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks Michael,

It really has been a wonderful ride! Glad you were able to stop by!


Norine Williams 13 months ago

Life: If "...we were WERE DEAD in sins.." (spiritually) (Eph 2:1;5), how can one make a vow to Him when DEAD? Man-made doctrine!

Remember: "As Christ (Holy) is to the CHURCH (Holy)" Eph 5:32 = "MYSTERY!"


MsDora profile image

MsDora 13 months ago from The Caribbean

Bill, so happy for you and your wife that God has favored you with a successful marriage. He can do it for 35 more years. Best to you, both!


Norine Williams 13 months ago

No Bill, not "one flesh" if not "...in the Lord" (I Cor 7:39=2nd as well as 1st), but fornication="sin against one's body" (I Cor 6:18)! Have you ever noticed I Corinthians 7:39? {Paraphrasing} "When one's second husband dies, one can marry again but, "ONLY IN THE LORD!" Therefore, do you think the 1st marriage should be "OUTSIDE THE LORD?"

Man-made doctrine would have ALL believe marriage is not "spiritual!" Ephesians 5:22-32 says "MYSTERY" = "As Christ is to the Church," both Holy as a marriage "should be!" God's intent! Less problems , wouldn't you think? If ALL marriages would be as God intended, divorce rate would be lower, if at all! Clergymen don't know this or pre-counseling would be more than, "Are you sure?"

Jesus' 1st miracle happened at a wedding? Why? He wants us to know how "important" marriage is and HE should be the HEAD of ALL marriages and when "wine" (newness) runs out, guess what, HE renews "better than before" (John 2:10)!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks MsDora. It has been a wonderful ride, and hopefully it will continue for another 35 - or til death do us part - or until Jesus comes back!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I agree with most of what you said. . . . fornication="sin against one's body" -absolutely.

"When one's second husband dies, one can marry again but, "ONLY IN THE LORD!" Therefore, do you think the 1st marriage should be "OUTSIDE THE LORD? - Definitely not, however the fact that Paul mentions the phrase, in the Lord, is a comparative phrase. That is, you could marry outside the Lord. Is it proper? No, but it happens a million times a day. We are definitely living in the days of Noah. (Matthew 24:38).

"As Christ is to the Church," both Holy as a marriage "should be!" God's intent! Less problems , wouldn't you think? Yes, I would, but to our shame, the divorce rate is higher in the Church than it is in the world. That is the intent of God, as you say, but reality is most people are not concerned with His intent - unfortunately.

Thanks for posting your views, just as I have done.


Norine Williams 13 months ago

"Comparative phrase?" "In the Lord" not to be compared "outside the Lord" especially when Scripture says "ONLY!" ONLY is not comparative!

It's "happening every day" doesn't fulfill God's intent!

"...the divorce rate is higher in the Church than it is in the world." Now, do you wonder why? GOD didn't "join ALL together," we did! Self satisfaction (as usual) which ALWAYS gets us in trouble (divorce)! God's intent is what we must keep reminding them of and maybe one (1), just 1 will "hear!"

Sorry to intrude on well wishes (and I WISH YOU 35 MORE, which is possible for my mother and father-in-law have been married for 80 years+) but I'm "driven" by Holy Spirit to "Teach" (Correct) those who love the Lord so they can "study" (Acts 17:11) and "Teach" (Correct; II Timothy 3:16) others.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 13 months ago from The Beautiful South

Congratulations Bill and may you have many more years if time goes on! It is so important to have a good mate in marriage, a friend forever you can talk about anything to. May it always be that way for you!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Norine,

Glad to hear of your mother's and father's long, happy marriage. Yes, it can happen!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks, Jackie. I certainly am blessed. I'm not sure why, but Ill take it. Have a great weekend!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 13 months ago from Southern Minnesota

I couldnt agree with you more Bill. I grew up in a divorced family and sadly repeated the history and all the sadness you report about divorce is true and then some.

I can also say that all of those horrible destructive decisions were made while not living in or for Christ.

How beautiful and honorable your example of how God intended to make two one as well as the demonstration of faithfulness, even through difficulty.

God bless and congratulations!


Norine Williams 13 months ago

Tammy: "I can also say that all of those horrible destructive decisions were made while not living in or for Christ." Precisely what I've said! In order for vows to be made to GOD, both must be "...in the Lord." (I Corinthians 7:39) but we take it upon ourselves to marry for one of the reasons mentioned in I John 2:16 which says "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the "pride of life," is not of the Father, but is of the world." So then, if "of the world," does anyone think they can make a "vow" to the LORD (as one does in marriage), when they are "of the world?" Get real!

Both Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians says "...we were DEAD in our trespasses and sin..." and if so, how can one DEAD make a vow to the LORD? We may have been married in the sight of man, but not in the sight of GOD but rather obtained a "license to sin!"


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks Tammy,

The road has been long, and at times hard, but the grace of God has always been there for me. If I were to pick one word that summarized my life thus far, it would be grace. To God be the glory! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.


McGee 13 months ago

Lifegate- I have been married to my wife now for 31 years. And you are correct. When you have our Father in heaven in your marriage it makes all the difference.

I do have my opinion about marriage in a church but that's not the point here.

Blessing.


Norine Williams 13 months ago

McGee: ANYTIME is the right time to tell TRUTH re: Marriage (or any other subject) according to Scripture (I Timothy 3:16; II Timothy 3:16)!

I'm VERY PROUD of LIFE and DeborAH or any other couple that has remained married through trials and tribulations for an extended period of time, yet NOW is the time to remind ALL the definition of "Marriage," according to Scripture.

Today, "Religion" has come to the conclusion that one should be "Religiously Correct" (not offending, appeasing, being kind, not speaking "off topic" (although marriage is subject), etc.) which is NOT according to WORD!

I know of NO WAY to speak to another but TRUTH which displays the LOVE of GOD who is LOVE (WORD)!

MOST have"joined ourselves together" with spouses, but to find JESUS during Marriage, rectifies ALL! I Corinthians 7:14 says, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." However, just think how we would have experienced less "trials and tribulations" if we had "originally" Married as God intended? BOTH Holy and "in the Lord" (I Corinthians 7:39)! What a blessing that would have been! It is better to have found Him later than not at all (as in my case), and for that, I am THANKFUL!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

McGee, Congratulations on 31 years of marriage. I seem to remember a song that said "Love will keep us together" or something like that. The truth is "God will keep our marriages together. Thanks for stopping by.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Norine,

Glad you found your soul mate. Its definitely better to find him later than not at all. God's timing is always good!


Norine Williams 13 months ago

Amen! He may not we want Him, but He's ALWAYS "on time!"

Sorry for intrusion, but "IT'S like a fire shut up in my bones!"


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 10 months ago from Manila

Great hub! Praise God for 35 years of faithfulness to your marriage. Congratulations ! May it remain strong through the passing of years.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 10 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Ho Cristina,

Great to hear from you, and thank you very much!


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 3 months ago from Alberta Canada

Hi William:

Great message here on honouring the words spoken before God, fellow man and especially your spouse... well done my friend.

Blessings from Canada


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Rolly,

Not sure how missed your comment. I'm only five weeks late, but I do appreciate hearing from you. Thanks for taking time out to read and comment. Have a great weekend!

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