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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A dedicatory post to an enriched 20 year marriage: 9 Ingredients for an Enriching Marriage

Ruth 1:16 "But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God."

It is hard to believe that today marks 20 years since my wife and I exchanged wedding vows. This morning my wife had commented on how over the years, though life has been difficult, she could not imagine doing life without me. I can echo those same words too. The above opening text appeared on the front cover of our wedding program. Ruth the Moabitess had to make a choice: would she return back to the land of her family, or would she remain with her mother-in-law and enter into a land she did not know and trust in the true and living God whom her own people had never worshipped? Ruth's resolve was to forsake whatever she knew and forge ahead into what she did not know by experience but was sensing deep down to be the correct course of action.

As I think back over the last 20 years of marriage, I can recall what I was like as a 22 year-old young man. It is only by God's grace that I was able to enter into a life-time commitment that neither my wife nor I had ever faced. We both love Jesus. Back then, as well as today, we both retain the sense of God's call on our lives. As one saying goes: "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called".  God called us to Himself as individuals in salvation and then called us to live life together as husband and wife. I love my wife more than breath itself. The institution of marriage is a God-designed arrangement. Only in Jesus Christ can the aim and purpose of marriage be fully realized. For me, being married to my wife is more delightful, more lovely and more beautiful than the day we exchanged our vows. 

I dedicate this post to my wife, Debi Smith, as a public declaration of how blessed I am to have been given two decades of life with her. This morning I prayed that God would give us many more. 
As I reflect on our twenty years of life together, it seems only appropriate to mention what has made our marriage so enriching. It's interesting how this week in our church there will be two wedding events. We attended a wedding the prior week.  I'll be doing a vow renewal for one couple who is celebrating 50 years of marriage and our Associate Pastor will be performing a wedding for another couple. Whether a couple has been married for 20 minutes, 20 years, 50 years or more, there are elements that make or break a marriage. I am sure as the years go by, the following ingredients will be further verified or perhaps grow in number. I'm sure for many readers, more suggestions could be added. As a way of closing out this dedicatory post, I list nine ingredients for an enriching marriage, that is to say, nine ingredients that I find in scripture as well as elements I think have made our marriage, and can make any marriage truly enriching.

1. Center yourselves on God. Ephesians 5:22-33

2. Celebrate one another. 

3. Keep short accounts 

4. Comfort one another in sickness, in health, in sorrow and in pain

5. Keep praying for one another and pray together

6. Cherish each other above all others

7. Communicate your love to one another before your children
8. Communicate clearly and never assume

9. Cherish each other and teach the children to the do the same

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