Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Blindness is Temporary; Love is Forever

This past weekend I had the privilege of hanging out with a very special couple.  The wife, due to diabetes complications, is now completely blind.  She retired a year ago from public school teaching and then her husband followed her into retirement this past January, partly to care for her.  Presently both of them work tirelessly at a local church serving as elders.  This special woman of God does not complain, has not become angry at God or doctors and continues to show a servant’s heart in all she does.  This special man of God, a long-term, committed husband, is spending much of his daily time serving and practically caring for his wife.  So naturally, my wife and I were inquisitive and wondering how life is for them these days.  We had to ask some questions.

After a few questions, while they were holding hands, the wife replied, “We’re closer than ever.”  She then said, “This has not stopped our love for one another and we care about each other even more.”  “Sometimes he [her husband] forgets me at the restaurant when he goes to pay the bill, so I just sit there and wait until he returns, he apologizes and then he leads me out to the car.”  They both laugh out loud when recounting their repeated story.  The wife shared that her physical blindness has caused her to be more dependent upon the Lord while her husband states that he had to go from being a “loner” to interacting more with people as he cares for his wife and her relationships.  You spoke those words, as did I, “In sickness and in health…”  We have no idea of the future, but we know that if we allow our love to grow a small portion daily, when we are faced with the unexpected, our love will be intact and we’ll be able to handle the stress of what we may someday face.

Marriage, Postmarital

I’m Giving Up on My Marriage, It’s too Easy!

Have you ever heard of someone saying marriage is just too easy?  I haven’t.  Author Gary Thomas recently wrote, “Beauty is often birthed in struggle.”  When we struggle for or through something we often tend to appreciate it far more.  I was working full-time, going to graduate school full-time, and being a husband and father while at the same time building our home with a friend – yes, literally pounding the nails.  It was one of the most challenging and demanding times of my life.  But the rewards, well, they were great.   As tough as it was, I didn’t walk away from any of my responsibilities because they were too difficult.

Imagine your Christian walk being trouble-free, without challenge and a life of ease.  While the desire for ease is often a dream, rarely is it an opportunity.  But, should it be?  Struggles make us stronger.  Challenges create perseverance.  A forced dependence upon our Creator through prayer and a growing relationship matures us.  Otherwise we remain unseasoned and immature.  The same is true of marriage.  When it gets tough and there are very real problems, God does not desire to rescue us so we do not face them, but rather He desires to walk us through them victoriously, maturing our marriages in the process.  In reality we should be thanking God for the opportunities in which marriage allows us to grow and mature.

Encouragement, Singles

Living Life as a Single is a Godly Option

Throughout the Old Testament there was no option of living single.  I’ve been told that there was not even a Hebrew word for bachelor.  During this time, young Israelites married early and had children.  It is what was expected.  Perhaps most who married were actually teenagers when they spoke their vows entering into the covenant of marriage.  But, the New Testament provides another option.

One day Jesus was being questioned about divorce and where He stood on Moses allowing divorce.  Jesus replies that divorce was not God’s idea (it was not this way from the beginning), but man’s idea, out of the hardness of his heart.  He goes on to say something extremely radical for those who lived under the law.  Jesus actually provided an alternative to marriage, something that did not exist in Israel.  He said that some would renounce marriage because of the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19:11,12).  In other words, Jesus allowed singleness for the sake of the gospel of the kingdom.  The Pharisees must have been scratching their heads over that statement.

If you’re still single, you are not a half a person.  You are a whole person dedicated to kingdom building without the distraction of marriage and a family.  Go for it, be mobile, be committed, and be passionate and radical for your King.  If you desire to be married, you desire a good thing, but stay in the game of living for Jesus 24/7 and watch what He does for you.  He is the best matchmaker and He knows far more about you, what you desire and what you need than eHarmony.

Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

Why Are We so Different?

Have you ever wondered why you married someone who is NOT like you?  We enjoy taking couples through premarital and hearing about how they just love the same music, have the same taste in clothing or both share a love of roller coasters.  Believe me, my wife and I have heard it all.  But after they say, “I do” none of these “loves” actually amount to much.  What they begin to discover is how different they really are.  Two become one as we speak our vows to God and to one another.  However, it is in the actual becoming one when we learn to embrace the differences.

It may take two years or more to discover that those “differences” are actually positives and not negatives.  While we may quarrel over them, a difference of opinion or a different view on things is actually a positive.  An example from my marriage is that I am the one who tends to see ahead, push for change and take risks.  I married someone who is not a risk taker and loves the security of things staying the same.  So how does that work as a positive?  Well, it took us some time to figure it out, but eventually we discovered something that we have since carried in our hearts.  That is, typically I have the vision and my wife carries the timing for that vision.  Vision is great, but timing is everything!