And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:18, 21-24)
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:22-33)
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." (1 Peter 2:25-3:2 3:7)
Today Kurt and I have officially been married 27 years. It's hard to believe that it has been that long!!! Where does time go? How does it slip away so quickly?
There we are in all our joy, innocent about the journey we were about to travel on!
Two very distinct and unique individuals coming together with different backgrounds to blend and compromise and learn how to give to each other, to surrender our own wants and needs for the other.
But we were not just two broken humans entering into the sacrament of marriage on our own. We had the wonderful grace of having the Lord Jesus Christ with us. We were not just two people at either end of a connecting line moving toward oneness in the center. We were part of a triangle.
On the one side of the triangle was Kurt's vertical line connecting him upwards to God. On the other side of the triangle was my vertical line connecting me upwards to God. And the horizontal baseline of the triangle was our relational line connecting us to each other.
Over the years Kurt and I discovered and have continued learning that we are ultimately and personally responsible to maintain and keep watch over that vertical line representing each of our personal relationships with our personal Savior. Neither one of us is to step into the other's space and distance that intimately connects each of us with our Savior. That is the relationship that is pursued by each person alone, and it is an intentional relationship with the Holy Spirit, God in us.
Our dual, shared roles and responsibilities are to be concentrated on that base horizontal line that joined us in marriage. When we said our vows back on May 15, 1982, that line was put in place to complete our triangle for life! Life on this earth, that is. And it was not to be severed!
We found out that when the two vertical lines connecting each of us relationally with God are in good order and thriving, that is when our horizontal line (relationship) as husband and wife is at it's best! Aha! So there is the secret for pursuing a marriage that would not only bring joy and peace here, but also glorifies and honors the One who ordained the union. Keeping Jesus our focus and then serving our mate as if we were serving the ONE our eyes are on. Easier said than done, yes?
Physically and emotionally and spiritually...God designed and created me to live with one man. It is up to me to trust God enough to believe that surrendering to His will and His ways in this life, the good, the difficult, and sometimes the ugly, will in the end, produce the most satisfying life possible for me.
In a marriage that lasts over the years, grows and changes and matures...it can only do so in a positive and edifying manner by HARD WORK, very DELIBERATE CHOICES, and CONCRETE ACTIONS. (from Sacred Marriage)
That word hard means "it ain't easy! and no one ever promised it would be. It is heavy duty labor and intentional!...every day!
That word deliberate means you do it "on purpose". It is no accident. You mean to make the choices you make. They are thought out.
That word concrete means your actions are solidifying and lasting. It means that how you act will stand firm with time.... say like 27 years (and more!) worth of time.
You will notice in the list to the right of my favorite books is a book called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I highly recommend it. :-) Below I list a couple of quotes from his writing that impacted me in my marriage to Kurt, for the better. They made me think. They changed a few attitudes that needed to be rearranged!
Let me just first render the question to you that is put before the Reader on the cover of the book.
"What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?"(...say what?)
"Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet. Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another's glory or toward degrading each other." -Dan Allender / Tremper Longman III (wow....if this is true of every marriage, which group do you fall in?)
"One of the best wedding gifts God gave you was a full-length mirror called your spouse. Had there been a card attached, it would have said, 'Here's to helping you discover what you're really like!'" -Gary and Betsy Ricucci (oh yeah! That really packs a punch, doesn't it?)
Marriage is one of the best things God ever thought of to help us to see what His character is like. It takes a LOT of patience, a LOT of love, and LOT of forgiveness. WE are loved with a true and full love by our Heavenly Father. We are forgiven with an eternal forgiveness by our Redeeming Savior....and we are tended to and cared for with unending patience by our infinite helper, the Holy Spirit. All of this we do not and NEVER WILL deserve.
So, doesn't my spouse, the one God hand-picked and delivered to me in His own amazing way and plan deserve to have the same treatment from me? Today I respond to that question with a firm and undoubting YES!
And I have One in me and walking with me every step of the way who has promised me that He will help me see it done. I only have to concentrate on my relationship with Him, and He will see to it that all things fall into place in His plan.
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (I Thess. 5:23,24)
Whether you have been married for only a short time, or for a long time, or maybe "in-between," give your marriage triangle a checkup. Is your baseline connecting you and your partner experiencing some upheaval? Are you going through a season where you are wondering where your marriage is going or if it is ever going to return to that "first year - happy in love" stage again?
Set your eyes on Christ. Get your relationship with Him back to where it needs to be, and let HIM worry about your husband's side of the triangle. Do what you know is your part and ask God to give you His love and patience and forgiveness for your beloved. He deserves no less from you, the "helper" God gave to him. Use him as that mirror to see where you need to change.
God is your strength, your helper, and your deliverer. Trust in Him. "He will do it."
Thanking God for my Kurt, a man who knows my deepest needs! ( sweet nothings whispered in my ear from a card, and CHOCOLATE sweets!) - waiting for me this am when I came out to the kitchen. :-)
And attached today is the music selection that was played as we exited the sanctuary as the brand spanking new "Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Smith." I cannot listen to this piece to this day without getting goose bumps because it takes me back to that moment in time. (must be why I love music so much... it does memory and soul excavation and digs up long ago memories. :-)