Jump Start # 2988
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?’”
This is the week of Christmas. It’s a time for festive holiday events, family gatherings, and the excitement of children. There is a lot that goes into getting everything ready for the “big day.” This week, using that idea, we are looking at “Countdowns” in our lives. Yesterday, it was Sunday worship. Today, our focus is upon marriage.
I know a couple that will be getting married next spring. They are in the “countdown” mode. You ask one of them and they can tell you exactly how many days until the wedding. They are excited. They ought to be. Marriage, when it is done right, God’s way, is a wonderful blessing and powerful spiritual help. It was God who realized that man needs help. It’s not good for man to be alone. We need to share life together. We need someone to talk to and someone who understands and can help us.
The “Countdown” for marriage. Let’s put some thoughts behind that.
First, far too many put more emphasis and energy into the wedding and not the marriage. The wedding is the start, but it’s not the finish. The wedding is one day, not the lifetime. Certainly, every bride wants her wedding to be a fairytale in her own way. I’ve seen country weddings. I’ve been to weddings in barns. I’ve been to weddings that are outdoors. I been to big fancy weddings. I conducted a wedding once in my front room. All of those are a reflection of the couple and their tastes. But that day quickly comes and quickly goes. The guests arrive and the guests go home. The presents come and the presents are opened. But after that wedding day, there is a life to be lived. And, this is where the emphasis needs to be directed. They are starting a home, their own home. They both bring ideas from how they were raised and those must be merged into what they want for their home.
Before the “I do’s” are said there are several items that need conversation:
· How are we going to serve the Lord together?
· What about hospitality?
· How much should we give to the Lord?
· How do we handle finances? Do we have a budget? Do we have a goal? What about the debts we bring to the marriage?
· How are we going to do the holidays?
Two different ideas…two different attitudes…two different ways—the two, God said, become one. One in spirit. One in heart. One in body. One in goals. One in direction.
Second, as wedding day approaches, everyone has ideas and opinions about how the couple ought to do things. This includes this guy who is writing this Jump Start. Parents have their ideas. The couple has their own ideas. One has to consider the ideas that are presented, consider who it is that is expressing them and see if they will work. What works for one, may not work for someone else. What has worked for you may not work for someone else. And, for parents of grown children, it’s very hard to keep our mouths closed about things. This is our child. There was a time when we controlled their lives. We picked out their clothes. We decided what they would eat. We determined when they went to bed. But now, they are grown and we can’t do that. We are only advisors and there are days that our grown children do not want our advice. It’s hard on parents. In our family, we’ve decided to stay out of things unless asked and we only inject our feelings when we see something not right spiritually. One can be odd, weird, unusual, different and even dumb and go to Heaven. It may not be the way the parents would do things, but if it won’t keep them from Heaven, stay out of it. It hurts young families when both sets of parents are constantly telling them how to do things. You may not like how they decorate their houses. You may not like the pets they have. You may not like the cars they buy. But if those things won’t keep them from Heaven, try to be quiet about that. The opinions from parents can wreck a young marriage. It’s putting the couple at the crossroads of standing with parents or standing with the spouse. We parents shouldn’t put our kids in that situation.
Third, all around us God has given us examples of Christians who have been married for decades and decades. There are all kinds of books on the market that deal with conversations, sex, raising kids, money management, establishing boundaries—and many of them have useful and helpful ideas, but nothing beats someone who has actually done it. Pick out an older couple from the congregation. Ask them out for dinner and then talk. Ask them some questions. Listen to wisdom. Listen to godliness lived. Living examples are the best help. Living examples beat anything you’ll read in a modern book.
Marriage is a journey. It’s going up that big, big hill and it’s going down that big, big hill. There are stressful days. There are challenging days. There are plain, ordinary days. There are wonderful, great days. And, what makes all of those days is the spirit you choose to carry and the walk you have in faith.
Countdowns…weddings are just one of them in our lives.