OK, I wanted to write just once more about marriage – and then we will move on to something else, I promise.
The elders just finished up their RMG marriage series and, if you had the opportunity to catch it, you know it was amazing! But, I am not actually writing about the series today. Instead, I want to approach marriage from a different angle.
June 11 was my wife and I’s 24th wedding anniversary!
As you all know, due to the insanely high divorce rates in America today, we almost count marriage years like dog years. People celebrate five years of marriage like its thirty-five years. So, in that context, we have been married roughly 168 years!
Tongue in cheek humor aside for a moment, I got to thinking about it. Twenty-four years is a fairly decent amount of time. We are still very young – early 40s — so we have been married for over half our lives – that is amazing!
Towns like Temecula and Murrieta have grown into cities since then. Sports dynasties like the 49ers and Bulls have come and gone and are coming back again. Our marriage has seen 11% of all of the US presidents, 52% of the Super Bowls, and 100% of reality TV – the worst television, ever.
Our first cell phone came in a carrier bag. I used to lock it up in my trunk. The rates were outrageous to talk for five minutes with someone just a few miles away. Today, the phone is only one of 1000 gadgets on our iPhones and we can Skype with someone in Africa for free.
Enough of the nostalgia; but it does beg the question: How have we stayed married for so long?
By God’s grace and that alone. You only need to spend a few minutes talking to Michele about my personal salvation and sanctification process over the past 24 years to know it was God’s grace.
And, in that grace, God gave us an understanding of His command for marriage at the very beginning, Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother an hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
It is here—at the very beginning—that marriage issues are allowed to creep into our lives when we fail to do what God has directed us to do as husband and wife. We are to leave and cleave.
There are too many husbands and wives who have failed to physically and emotionally leave their own fathers and mothers. They want to be married, but they still want to be a child too. It does not work that way. And, this only complicates the process because if you can’t leave, you certainly can’t cleave – or become one flesh, which actually makes it easier to let your marriage slip away.
In the hardest times in our marriage, we both shared one constant healthy fear, being alone without each other. Why? It is simple really: because I had left my mom and dad, she had left her mom and dad, and we had become one with each other. It is scary to think about living apart from the person with whom you really are one; it is hard to imagine life apart without feeling a gaping hole.
Now, I need to say that if God chooses to take someone, it is at the appointed time, it is in His perfect plan, and He will fill that hole. But aside from that, if we fail to follow God’s prescription for marriage and due to our sin we lose a spouse, it can be a very, very painful process.
But, there is great hope! If we do follow His plan for marriage—leave and cleave—I can promise you this from my own personal experience, marriage gets better and better every year! I truly look forward to the next 24 years with Michele, the love of my life and my best friend . . .
Oh, and then we will get to celebrate 336 years of marriage!