Before you get Married...
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38–39 (NIV84)
Rod Weckworth of West Sacramento, California was recently interviewed. He is an avid outdoorsman, and loves extreme sports. In that interview, he shared that he and his wife have completed more than 20 jumps from a plane as skydivers. One thing is sure: Weckworth loves pushing the envelope. During the interview, someone asked him if he has any rules about life. He told the reporter that he has several rules he lives by, but one important one he always remembers is: "Never ever argue with Your wife while she is packing your parachute.” A/P 9-5-90
When I read this, I found myself thinking how this man teases his wife. He has fun with her, yet he teases her about packing his parachute. Some couples can have fun like this. They love to laugh, to tease, to share. Their relationship is secure and strong. Their time together is a time to enjoy life, without worries, without fears if the other will be there or not. It’s a special thing when two people can be sure of their love.
But, I’ve seen many marriages where this is not the case. I’ve seen couples who did not show love, had forgotten how to love, or had problems loving each other. Instead of teasing, joking, caring, and enjoying their love, they pushed each other’s buttons until the other one cried, they argued, they yelled, or they fought. As one wife said to me several years ago, “I used to feel love from my husband, we used to have fun, he used to speak to me so lovingly. Now, all I hear from him is anger. What happened to the love? What happened to the love?”
Today, it is not unusual to read about love that is lost. A celebrity couple from Hollywood gets married with great fanfare. Two years later, they are divorced. The love is gone. A man married a woman after he got her pregnant. He thought it was doing the right thing. He may have been doing his duty, but their marriage never worked. Ten years later, he was cheating on his wife. He said, “I never really loved her. We had to get married. I got married for the kids.” Their marriage never did work, and they divorced. Why? They thought they were in love, but they were not. They may have been in lust, but not in love. Their love may have been a passing fad, not an eternal commitment.
Love in some marriages can come and go, can grow or wane. It can be read about the papers in Hollywood one week, and dismissed the next. Love for many is a fickle thing, but never for God.
Love, true Godly love between a husband and wife, is never fickle. God’s kind of love is constant, sure, and forever. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul says, “What can separate us from the love of God?” He responds that nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing in heaven, nothing on earth, nothing in the present, or anything to come. Paul is sure that God’s love is always there, always open to us, always concerned about us. God’s love is a sure thing. Unlike the love of some in this world, God’s kind of love will not fail no matter what happens. When you are married, your love changes. Sex may become less important at times. Feelings may be hurt. Problems may push your commitment. Stress may steal your time. But, the love should not flame out. It should be nurtured and helped along, like a newly-lit fire.
I have found in most marriages love is weakened by a woman who is expecting her husband to read her mind and anticipate her moods. True love doesn't read minds. So too, I have seen husbands who respond too quickly with anger and frustration, rather than trying to understand what is really going on in the relationship. True love doesn't hold a grudge (I Corinthians 13). True love doesn't spend money or buy things to replace feelings. True love deals with an illness and doesn't wallow in it or ignore it. True love is quick to say, "I'm sorry" or "I messed up." True love chooses love over depression, love over things, love over emotions, love over the past, love over mistakes. You may have to choose which of these things to love more.
I met a man named Carl. He had a wife who he adored. After being married for more than 25 years, His wife, Joan, became sick. She had cancer. For nine months, he took her to doctors, he helped her with chemotherapy, he gave her medicines. He did the wash. He cleaned the house. He learned to cook and made dinner when Joan could eat. In the days before she died, I stopped over to see Joan. Carl had taken her home to die. Whenever she got sick, he was there. One time, she was very sick when I visited. Throughout that visit, Carl hovered over her, washing her face with a cool washcloth, and smiling. He bent down and said how much he loved her. Tears came to her eyes. She knew he loved her. She knew he was going to be there through thick and thin, better or worse, no matter what it took.
That’s the kind of love God wants from a husband and wife…. A love that is going to be there, to be secure. The apostle Paul is clear in his statement: “What can separate us from the love of God?” Nothing can separate us from the love of God. What should separate husband and wife? Nothing. What is that perfect kind of love? One that lasts and lasts and lasts. Take time to grow and maintain that love so it may last.
Very soon, you two will be making promises to God and to each other. You will make vows to love each other for better or worse, richer or poorer til death do you part. This vow is meant to be a vow of love that is committed and sure. It is a love that will make it through no matter what happens. Don’t fail God or each other. Let your love be the kind that will last and will grow. Don’t be like some in this world who lose the love, the passion, the commitment with time. Let your love be faithful. Let it be genuine. You are required by God to nurture and support and help along that love, not neglect it. In the future, I hope we will celebrate all that God has done through you, and the promises you have surely kept. I really hope for this. BUT it is up to you to help that love along, trust in God to see how to grow that love.
With marriage, you start a whole new relationship with God. In marriage, two people become one before God. It’s a new start. God wants your love to be a sure thing. God wants nobody to doubt your love. Show everyone in your life that true kind of love, the kind of love our world needs to see, the kind of love that is holy and all too rare.