John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The one verse in the bible that seems to be well known by many, Christian along with non-Christian, carries much meaning when really considered. I often think about the level of LOVE it would require from a parent to sacrifice their child for others. This makes me realize that LOVE carries a much deeper meaning and value than what we currently experience thrown around on social media, heard in conversations, and basically used in a lot of communication avenues. When I think about the vows I took before God to LOVE and cherish my husband, I feel somewhat inadequate in comparison. As a young 23-year old, my focus on our upcoming marriage was the wedding, reception and other details which really had nothing to do with my new husband or our commitment to God. Now, more than 24 years later, I have experienced so much more in marriage than I ever dreamt possible. Our ‘happily ever after’ is a daily commitment to prioritize each other over any selfish or worldly desires and keep God first between us.
I wish I could say that the past 24 years have been blissful, blessed and burden free; but that is not the case. There were moments that but by the grace of God our marriage would have become part of the divorce statistics so easily accepted by today’s societal norms. Trading in a spouse can be as accepted as trading in a car for a more exciting, improved, better looking version. The most valuable characteristics I have learned in our marriage are commitment, contentment, communication and conviction. These were learned not only in daily interactions with one another, but also through connections with Godly couples at church and in our communities. When Christian married people seek advice about marriage it is obviously best to listen to those who have succeeded themselves or are at least committed in their marriage the way God directs. Remember that marriage was God’s idea, as in the example of Adam and Eve. But also remember that God hates divorce: Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 states, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”
My challenge to newlyweds or couples going through rough times in their marriages is to seek God’s help first and then turn to other Christian couples for advice and support. My marriage has not always been a fairy tale, but with God’s help we have made it to the other side of a house foreclosure, financial difficulties, three moves, changing school districts for our kids, loss of close family and friends, major health issues, career demands, two separations, and a multitude of other trials of life. With a daily commitment to forgive as we are forgiven, love as He loves us and keep our focus on God’s plan for marriage, we will grow more deeply in LOVE each and every day! So get out there, live the marriage God intended/designed, attend a Marriage Retreat or two, buy Valentine’s flowers or candy regardless of previous agreements and commit to L.O.V.E.: