Today is my engagement anniversary. Forty-one years ago, my husband proposed and I accepted. Wow, it seems like only yesterday, but also a life time ago! I am so blessed!
On June 2nd, my husband and I will celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary. We are still not sure how we will celebrate that day. I keep hinting to my adult children that they might like to do something “special” for us… So far they haven’t taken any note of the hints dropped. *sigh*
Of all my high school chums, I guess I have been married the longest time. If I think about it, that goes for both my husband’s and my families too. We have stayed the course, for better or for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, and we praise God for giving us these many years together. He is still creating our perfect love story. We do not take it for granted. He has directed our steps, blessed us immeasurably with wonderful children and grandchildren and He continues to lead us forward each day.
I suppose forty years married may be considered a significant milestone when we consider how many couples today don’t stay the course together and are divorced soon after the “I do’s”. The sad fact is that most couples today get a few years into their marriage, discover that married life wasn’t what they thought it would be and they say “I don’t!” and leave.
I think part of the problem with couples today is that they have a real problem with the idea of “Love, honour, and obey.” I think the majority of young marrieds don’t have a problem with the concept of “love” per se but tack on honouring and obeying and the vows just fall apart. Young couples are starry-eyed lovers. They breathe romance with every touch, every smile, every word that is savoured and cherished. Every moment together is a never-ending romantic encounter and they envision a future of eternal devotion together…until…
One spouse gains a little weight, or loses a job, or gets sick,…suddenly the stars in their eyes stop twinkling as brightly. Life interrupts the romance.
Honouring is an even harder concept for young couples. We love to be honoured, but it’s hard to show our spouses honour. Honour means to pay homage to, to hold in respect or esteem, to show courteous behavior towards, and even to worship! How can you honour someone you don’t respect?
But it is the last part of a marriage vow that finally sets a marriage into a tailspin…obeying. Women, especially have a hard time with this last concept. In a world that demands equality, obeying has so many negative connotations. It requires submission. It requires humbling oneself. Women with a feministic streak cry out, “Never!” and marriages crumble.
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3: 18,19 he writes, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
Take note that while wives should “submit” (obey) their husbands; husbands are commanded to love their wives. In the Greek translation, this requires the husband to be totally self-sacrificing for his wife and never ask her to do something that he would not be prepared to do for her. The marriage is based on sacrificial love and mutual respect for one another. It’s not based on “what can I get out of this?” but “what can I do to show my love for my spouse?” Self-sacrificing love is unconditional and it is never-ending.
It is the same kind of love that Jesus demonstrated for us that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
Are you treating your spouse with the love, honour and obedience (respect) that God would have you? Are you showing the love of Christ to your spouse? If not, prayerfully ask the Lord to show you how to love, honour and obey your spouse so you can be totally devoted and give preference to one another (Romans 12:10); be accepting of one another (Romans 15:7); care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25); carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2); forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32); encourage and build up one another (1 Thess. 5:11); spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24); confess your sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16).
Amen? I do!