While rummaging through a drawer this week I came across something very special. A few months ago, the pastor and dear friend who married us 37 years ago gave us the hand-typed pages from our wedding ceremony. He started our wedding out with this statement, “The two most important relationships a person can have are, first, a personal relationship with his Creator, and second, the marriage relationship of a man and woman. It is God who has provided for both of these.” Later in the service he went on to say, “The Lord intended the marriage relationship to be free from competition and conflict. He created you to complement and complete one another in order to reflect His image to the world.”
Funny thing, just as I typed in the word “competition,” autocorrect typed in “triathlon.” After 37 years of marriage, I think our marriage has been a series of training events! A triathlon has three components to it, running, biking, and swimming. All requiring months of training, discipline, perseverance, and a determined attitude to not give up. Sounds like a marriage to me!
Has there been competition and conflict in our marriage? In all honesty, yes there has been. Our marriage, like most marriages, has had its share of struggles and challenges. What has kept us together? Our determination to stay true to our vows. There were times I didn’t think we were going to make it, but we did. Our pastor made these three following statements from our wedding vows. They have been the glue that have kept two very different people together.
- Each one is to have a personal relationship with his Creator.
- Your marriage relationship will grow into full maturity if you are both careful to love one another with biblical agape love (patient, kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty, selfish, or rude, not touchy or holding grudges).
- He created you to complement and complete one another in order to reflect His image.
Carol Heffernan wrote an article for Focus on the Family entitled “God’s Design for Marriage.” In it she says, “As Christians, we know that applying biblical principles to marriage will give us a stronger foundation than those of our unbelieving friends and neighbors. We know this, but what are we doing about it? In other words, what makes a marriage ‘Christian’? According to author Gary Thomas, we're not asking the right questions. What if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?”
Look at what God says in Ephesians 5:22-33. Herein lies the rich comparison of the marriage of Christ and the Church and God’s instructions to husbands and wives. God’s Word is always our reference point. Refreshing our hearts and minds in all that God says in His Word about marriage is essential to our walk with God and in our marriage relationship.
Husbands and wives each having a personal relationship with God is foundational to a good marriage. At the beginning of our vows our pastor quoted Romans 5:9-10 and John 3:16. He then went on to say, “Ben and Tara have both been joined in this relationship to their Creator. We are here today to witness them enter into life’s second most vital relationship - that of marriage.”
Has the journey been easy? No, but so worthwhile. We are still in training, which requires us to persevere with a determined attitude to not give up. Ben likes to say, “As a couple gets older, their marriage relationship becomes deeper, richer, and more multifaceted.” Gems are multifaceted and reflect light.
Maybe the most important thing we can do in our marriages is honor God and reflect His light.