Jesus answered, “Don’t you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? 5 That’s why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. 6 Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together.” Matthew 19:4-6 (CEV)
Fourteen years ago today two disciples of Jesus Christ stood in front of about 200+ people and stated their commitment to each other. They didn’t dream this up. In fact, as individuals, those two people had other ideas about what their lives would be like. But God brought them together for His time and purpose.
This year, Henry and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day. The two of us have been through some extraordinary events. Some of them, like mission trips to Eastern Europe and partnering in a publishing company, are more wonderful than either of us ever dreamed of when we made that commitment long ago. Other events, James’ death and financial struggles, have been very difficult but have taught us a lot about the power of God in a marriage.
When two people decide to partner with God in a covenant marriage, it may seem at first that each of the three is part of an equal equation. God commits to being an active member of the marriage who brings wisdom and unconditional love and forgiveness to the other two parties. They in turn look to God to be there to get them through all those tough days that will come in a marriage that lasts decades. Somewhere during the first week when the romantic haze begins to clear from the husband and wife’s eyes and they find out just how annoying the other person is, they realize they cannot begin to make this relationship work in the long term in their own strength and will. If they are wise and weak enough, they turn more and more to God to refine them into the covenant that He had in mind all along.
I believe the most important thing that I can do in my marriage is to support my husband in whatever he needs to do to build his relationship with God. How Henry connects with God and how they spend time together is very different from what I need. Henry likes to read and dig into God’s Word. One of his happiest ‘seasons’ with God, when I saw such supernatural peace and joy in him, was when he was studying a three-volume commentary of Leviticus. He had his Bibles and that commentary and his pen and he would spend hours in worship. It was wonderful to see! (But no, I did not join him in that worship!)
As Henry and I have grown older and the children have all left home to marry and raise children, we have entered a new season in our marriage. There is a tenderness that comes as you care for each other physically and laugh at how your lives have changed. We have found God opening new doors of opportunity to serve Him and share His Good News with others. God doesn’t seem too concerned with age.
When a marriage is arranged by God, it is an adventure with some unexpected twists and turns. It does not guarantee a blissful, no disagreements union. It does promise that whatever conflicts may arise and however each spouse may need to grow and change personally, God is the one who is directing and mediating this partnership. It has never crossed my mind in the last 14 years despite a few “vigorous disagreements” that Henry and I would not come through a bumpy span in any way except stronger and closer than we were before. For those of you reading this who haven’t married, please hear my testimony: Waiting for the one that God has chosen for you is worth the years of alone-ness. It is like an “advent” or preparation time for you both. God knows your address and never doubt that He will bring you together if you both are open to His timely leading.
Thank You, LORD, for the gift of this marriage with Henry. Thank You for the way You have grown both of us and walked with us. Thank You for Your great love and for teaching us how to love and how to forgive. Thank You that we have only just begun this journey with You. May we be found faithful to always glorify You in all things every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
See you next Monday morning!
The Wedding Song written by Kenny G