Jump Start #3196
Jump Start # 3196
Matthew 19:5 “and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh”
Our verse today shows Jesus quoting God’s perspective of marriage. This quote comes from Genesis two. Leave and cleave. Stay and stick. Two becoming one. Our culture has sure turned the beauty of marriage inside out. My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week. When looking for a card for her, I saw one from a wife to a wife. To say anything about that is to be destroyed as homophobic, prejudice, narrow and a bigot. Such are the times we live in.
I saw an interesting stat the other day. The typical couple getting married will spend at least 400 hours in planning for the big day. Lots of decisions. Lots of choices. Lots of planning. But, that stat also revealed that the typical couple spends less than eight hours in marriage classes, counseling or advice. A lot of time is put into THE day, but very little into the LIFE that follows. The perfect wedding often does not reflect even a good marriage.
This is something that God’s people ought to realize is important. It’s more than warning about the dangers of divorce, it’s about how to live a life together. Everyone brings a past, a family, opinions and yes, even sins into that relationship. Navigating through all of that, plus getting on the same page about finances, children, holidays, family time, goals can sure be stressful. Communication needs to be open, transparent and strong.
Wedding planning or marriage planning—sure is something to think about. Here are some thoughts:
First, we need to continue to preach, preach and preach about what God says about marriage. Culture has redefined and reshaped what marriage looks like. Our audiences need to understand. They need to hear plain Bible preaching on these things.
Second, when possible, it would be great to offer some classes for your couples in the congregation. That moon-eyed look that they have can quickly turn into a deer in the headlights look as they recognize attitudes, opinions and views that do not line up with the way they thought they should. Having an older married Christian lead those discussions can be helpful and powerful. There are many, many books on the market that deal with communication, conversations, finances and raising a family. The pull of the world can be hard on a young couple. Getting them on the same page spiritually is important.
Third, a young couple ought to seek out some advice from a couple older than them. Get to know them. Recognize how strong they are spiritually. Take them out to lunch and ask questions. Seek godly advice. I’d encourage a young preacher and his wife do this with an older preacher and his wife. There are a lot of pressures and things the young couple have yet to witness that strong, spiritual advice can help them.
Fourth, understand the principle of the triangle. We’ve heard the concept about the triangle often in lessons about marriage. God is at the top and the man and woman are at the base. It takes all three to make a marriage honorable and thrive. Yet, there is another principle of the triangle that is often left out. As each of the sides get closer to the top, the sides get closer to each other. The farther from the top they get, the wider or farther from each other the sides become. So, one of the best things that can pull a couple together is for each to get closer to the Lord. As they grow in faith, they will grow closer and closer to each other.
Some of the best marriage advice will not be about bills, houses and kids, but grace, patience, forgiveness and walking with the Lord. Worshipping together, praying together, growing together spiritually are powerful tools that couples need to utilize today. Learning these principles and learning how to use them effectively in a marriage can be some of the best things that a congregation can teach. Learning to be humble. Learning to be a servant. Those are things that will not only strengthen a marriage, but they will strengthen a congregation.
So, the other evening my wife and I got out our wedding book that was used at our wedding. I was amazed at all the gifts that we received and this many years later, those gifts are no longer around. So many of the people that signed our book are now on the other side. So many, many had passed away. But what lasts, and what endures are a promise kept, a love that grows and a hope in the Lord that is constant. The best part of looking at that old wedding book was seeing me and her.
Planning for a wedding or planning for a marriage—the two are not necessarily the same. One is over quickly. The other ought to last a lifetime.