Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Marriage Must Be for Keeps if it is to Be Enjoyed

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- Recently, my wife and I celebrated another wedding anniversary. They seem to come so quickly. Perhaps that is because we have so much fun from one to the other.

Robert Louis Stevenson, famous Scottish author, once called it, “A field of battle, not a bed of roses.” We started on the road to marriage with a dozen red roses. I met Kitty about three weeks before her twenty-first birthday. A few days later I left town on business.

I did, however, remember the date of her birthday. How did I find that out in such a short period of time? Young people sometimes talk about strange and important things during those getting acquainted days. You guessed correctly. I sent a dozen roses for that special birthday. Periodically, roses or other flowers have been a part of our romance.

After two years of dating, becoming better acquainted, asking and answering a lot of questions, becoming familiar with our families and backgrounds, our hopes and dreams, we decided it was time to be married to each other and spend the rest of our lives together. That was the best decision I ever made.

College days were completed. Graduate school had reached past the halfway mark on a 90 semester-hour degree. My determination not to marry until college was finished and advanced studies were well in hand had been realized. June 4 was the date chosen for the wedding in Springfield, Ohio. We both knew we were marrying the whole family and for that reason our brothers and sisters as well as our parents were participants in the ceremony with Dr. Harold W. Boyer.

Three weeks later we set sail on a seven-week trip to Europe. We learned a lot out in the middle of the Atlantic about life, each other, friends, and living together. I have learned since that day that Heinrich Heine was correct when he described marriage as “The high sea for which no compass has yet been invented.”

Every day since the wedding has confirmed for me that I married the most beautiful, exciting, talented, and intelligent woman I have ever met. All of those things I hoped for in a marriage have been mine to enjoy. I do hope Kitty reads this column because she is the fulfillment of my best dreams.

For a marriage to last and be enjoyable, all thought of perfection must be laid aside. My wife learned very early in our courtship that she would not be married to a perfect man if she continued the path she had taken. Where either spouse expects perfection an imperfect marriage is the result. A lot of mutual understanding and forgiveness must be among the key ingredients of a successful marriage.

I would encourage anybody thinking about marriage or already married to read a beautiful love story in the Bible. Their names are very popular in our time, and “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her” (Genesis 29:20, NIV). Perhaps that is one reason why long marriages seem to go by so quickly.

Marriage involves a lifetime of commitment to each other. Separation and divorce are poor options. When a man and a woman are joined in holy wedlock, they should stay locked to each other until separated by death. Young Mark records the perfect words of Jesus on this matter, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9, NKJV).

A solid marriage is what Gilbert Keith Chesterton called “An armed alliance against the outside world.” It is not easy in our world, but a man and a woman who are tied together in the bonds of holy love can joyfully make it.

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