Monday, August 31, 2009

Age and Marriage

I turned 60 yesterday!

"O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!" Psalm 39:4

I'm still processing the experience. It's a good time to reflect on past, present and future issues. The older I get the more I appreciate God's sovereign watchcare. He was clearly watching over me and drawing me to himself. One of the constants in my life throughout the years has been my partner in life and marriage.

We are childhood sweethearts. We have been married for 36 years but I have known her at least 50 of my 60 years of life! I don't want to take that for granted. The Lord, in his sovereign wisdom used Bev and her family to show me Jesus and lead me to him.

Isn't that to be the purpose and goal of our marriages? To show Jesus to each other and the world. Life really is too short to be spending so much of our time and energy on things that won't last. Eternal issues become more important and necessary as we grow older. And there is no better place to be reminded of those things than in our marriages. To have a partner in life to share not only the adventures with but to remind each other of our eternal hope.

Our marriages don't last forever but our relationship with Jesus does.

I love Bev more now than I did before. Not simply because of all the experiences of life we have had together and the fact that she has put up with a lot! We have precious memories of life together in each season. Starting out with little money but lots of love. The blessing of children and lots of worries about doing things right. Saying goodbye to our adult children and facing a new season of life alone again.

Yes we are older but richly blessed with memories of God's faithful love.

Getting older can be unsettling in our youth obsessed culture but there is a blessing in age and marriage that can't be matched. Truly knowing that the love of Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Whatever season of life you are in your marriage - keep building it on the promises of God fulfilled in Christ. Thank God for that partner in life who is also your brother or sister in Christ and make the most of the years he gives you in this fleeting life!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I'm big on memories - especially as I get older!

I love to remember things and people. I think it is wrong to romanticize the "good old days" but we should not forget them either. I've been having the urge to go back and organize some old photos and look at the home movies we made. My problem is that I can't get very far without spending a lot of time just looking and remembering and not organizing!

I want to pull Bev aside and tell a story with each photo. Do you remember when we took this trip? Do you remember the nick names we gave our kids and why? Or how about this picture of us all at Disney World in the cold rain wearing ponchos and 3-D glasses with your parents?!

Some pictures are seared in our minds and not in printed form. Like the first "real" argument we had in our marriage that ended in spaghetti all over the floor amidst tears and laughter.

I think it is important to have tangible reminders of the past. The primary reason for us as Christians is to remember how faithful God is to His commitments. The bible is filled with examples of remembering the things God does for His people. One clear example is in Joshua 4 when God tells Joshua to pile 12 stones together after he stopped the waters of the Jordan river. The only reason given was so that when the children ask what do these stones mean the story of God's salvation would be recalled to the next generation.

That's a good practice for every season of your marriage. It can be an encouraging tool that the Holy Spirit uses to remind you of His faithulness especially when you feel discouraged or weary.

Try it today. Pull out an old picture or look again at the rings on your fingers. Remeber how God blessed you and be thankful. Look ahead and make new memories as well.

Don't forget to remember.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Wedding

How many weddings have you been to? Do your remember your vows? How about the feelings your were having in that "out of body" moment in your lives?

I just returned from performing another wedding. This one was for my niece which made it even more meaningful. Watching this young couple starting their new adventure with excitement and wonder brought back a rush of memories. They were entrusting their lives to each other in the presence of many witnesses and especially before God. That can be scary as well as wonderful! What will the future be like? How will we really get along?

As Christians our foundation and hope has to be in the promises of God in Christ whether we just got married or have been married for 30 years. Lord willing, this couple will have many years ahead of them in which to grow more deeply in their love for each other and particularly in the sufficiency of Christ's love to help them not merely survive but to thrive.

At the same time this couple was beginning their lifelong commitment another marriage was ending. A couple that started with the same dreams and desires have come to a place where those vows were just a memory. They professed the same love for Jesus and trust in Him.

The statistics are unnerving. The fact that we see this as, just the way things are, is even more upsetting.

At the risk of sounding overly simplistic I think the problem is not always our spouses or our circumstances but the fact that we have lost our first love. I fear the gospel in our marriages has become more medicinal than life changing. It's more about how Jesus fits into our lives than how we MUST live in Him.

The growing obsession for my niece and her husband must be to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." As soon as we begin seeing our commitment to Christ as an appendage or another way to help us stay together we begin to undermine the very vows we took at the beginning.

Don't wait for a ceremony but renew your vows today. In the presence of your spouse and your savior remind each other of what you have declared. "To love, honor and cherish til death do us part." It's not a survival tactic but a biblical mandate sealed with the blood of Christ.

Do it for Jesus' sake.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Little Things

To quote an old song,"little things mean a lot." In a society where we seem to go from one crisis to another there are a lot of little issues that get pushed to the side because they are not seen as critical to the immediate need or situation.

If the sky is falling or the building is collapsing it is not the time for determining how people are feeling or different ways to handle the situation - just run!!

Yet when it comes to our marriages I believe we too often ignore the opportunities for the little things as we wait for the big things we expect to face. What if we don't have enough money? What if our kids get rebellious? What if we loose that lovin feeling?

Sometimes we focus on the things that we can't control and forget about the little things. If I practice on a daily basis caring for the little things in my spouse's life I think we would be more apt to handle the big changes that come. A word gently spoken, a helping hand without being asked. Those little things we do to and for our spouse can actually be powerful tools of encouragement that remind us we are in this together.

We will all face big things in life that require immediate attention. Yet let us not loose sight of the little things that we should be about today. This is not to be a checklist of routine obligations but a more second nature desire to love in the little things. We can't do this unless we give some time thinking about it. Take two minutes today to think of something specific that would bring refreshment to your husband or wife. What could you do that would make them know you had been thinking about them and wanted to show some expression of appreciation?

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

Your partner in life is a gift from God and worthy of thoughtful love. Love your husband or wife in little ways that reflect a heartfelt gratitude to God. Know as well that your savior Jesus does that for you each and every day. He loves you in the little ways as well as the big.

Because, little things mean a lot.