35 Years in the Making
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.
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),.
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.
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.