A few days ago Ruth and I shared a few thoughts at a wedding ceremony about how to develop a successful marriage. Here, in a nutshell is what I communicated with the groom from our 36 years of married life:
CHRIST: Put Him first. Seek Him daily. Make Him the central focus of your marriage. Given the complexity and demands of matrimony and modern life, this will not happen without a deep resolve to just do it.
“For to me, to live is Christ…” (Phil. 1:21a)
COMMITMENT: The word “divorce” must never cross your lips. It simply is not an option. (Murder yes, but never divorce [compliments of Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth]). Resolve to identify and solve your problems…graciously. Determine that no one else shall ever occupy the inner sanctum of your heart except your wife, as long as you both shall live.
“May the God who gives endurance…give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:5,6)
COMMUNICATION: Learn to listen to the language of her heart…To the meaning behind her words. Never depreciate how she feels. Respect her emotions as legitimate and seek to understand them.
“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” (Prov. 18:13 – The Message)
CONSIDERATION: Call home if you plan to be late for dinner. Open the door for her. Throw your socks into the hamper. Be a gentleman. Bring home flowers or perfume now and then. Lead. Tell her she is beautiful. Apologize when you are wrong. Say “thank you.” Take her on dates.
“Husbands…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Pet. 3:7)
COMMISSION: Don’t live solely for yourselves. If you do, life will dry up before you. Invest in the lives of people. Win and disciple them. Bind up their wounds. Serve those less fortunate than yourselves.
“…Go and make disciples of all nations…For Christ’s love compels us…that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (Matt. 28:19a; 2 Cor. 5:14a, 15b; Jms. 1:27b) (See Isa.58:6,7)
I doubt that there is any greater test of true godliness…or manliness, than how a husband handles his marriage. In fact, I believe that for the most part, the ball is in his court as to whether the marriage is a success or not.
QUESTION: Men, do you choose to have the right stuff to win in this, the toughest of all arenas?
My prayer is that you are having a great week!
R. Dwight Hill