This coming Wednesday evening, I will begin leading a class that will be based on the book Sacred Marriage. Everytime I attempt to lead a class where marriage is the focal point, I feel like I am over my head.
I do enjoy being married. I enjoy being married to Charlotte. By the way, recently I was filling out an information form at a doctor’s office the other day. Apparently, I missed a question on the form. The receptionist saw the blank and asked me, "What is the name of your present wife?" I gave her Charlotte’s name. But the sound of the question caused me to feel a little strange. My "present wife"? I don’t guess I have ever thought of her, my children, or my parents as just being temporary. "For the present time, my children are….." Hmmmmm.
I asked Charlotte to say something to the class about marriage. She immediately said to me, "Marriage is hard work." Gary Thomas, in his book Sacred Marriage virtually echos her statement.
Christians who dodge all serious struggle and consciously seek to put themselves in whatever situations and relationships are easiest are doing the same thing–they are costing, and eventually that costing will define them and –even worse–shape them.
If there is one thing young engaged couples need to hear, it’s that a good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for. It takes struggle. You must crucify your selfishness. You must at times confront, and at other times confess. The practice of forgiveness is essential.
This is undeniably hard work! But eventually it pays off. Eventually, it creates a relationship of beauty, trust, and mutual support.
As I begin my week and as I consider my life before God, I must not forget that my behavior in my marriage speaks volumes about my heart. It speaks about my desire to place all areas of my life under the rule of God. I think that it is important that I think about how I am presently treating my wife. Do I display the character of Jesus in the way I treat her?
We have been married for almost 26 years (she put the date inside my ring, knowing that I would need help remembering). There has been a lot of fun and joy. There have also been tough, hard times. I think that’s just the way marriage is. Ultimatly, what I really believe about marriage is not what I say in class. What I believe about marriage is best revealed in the way I behave in my marriage. Thank God for his mercy.