Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Premarital

What Does it Take to Reach Forty Years of Marriage and Beyond?

Now that you know Mary and I have celebrated 40 years of marriage, we have asked ourselves how we got this far. Of course, it goes without saying it is totally the grace of God. That realized, let us give you ten priorities (five per week) that to us were/are non – negotiable after saying “I do.”

1. We determined to never and I do mean never mention the ‘D’ word. Divorce was determined to not be an option for us. We decided that there wasn’t anything that we could not work through with some help from others.

2. Our first love and our first priority was to love God with all of our heart and soul and then love one another. He would give us the ability to love our life mate in a way that our flesh and soul was not capable of doing.

3. Our marriage would come before our children, our ministry, our jobs and other life commitments. We would continue to date, take weekends away and not allow the oneness of marriage to be stolen from us.

4. We would have fun and keep laughing with one another. Humor is a medicine to relationship. When we stop having fun we can begin to take our career, our finances, our goals and ourselves too seriously.1C6A0380

5. We would keep prayer and communication as a priority. Nothing is more intimate than praying together. When you pray, you reveal your heart and when you reveal your heart, you are communicating your deepest feelings to God and one another.

Bonus:  Having less materially and being content is true wealth in life, love and relationship!

Next week we’ll give you five more priorities plus a bonus one.

Marriage, Postmarital

Getting Married and Hot Times

It just had to be the hottest day of the spring of 1975. Sweating in my long sleeve shirt, rented navy blue suit jacket and bow tie in the non air-conditioned church building was an obvious concern.  I was 20 years young and she just turned 21. My father was against this union while her father gave us his blessing and approval to marry. Of course, he wanted hIMG_1105is daughter to finish nursing college, as did I for different (financial:) reasons. The wedding ceremony started, my bride, so lovely in her high neck gown, came down the aisle toward me. And then it seemed the ceremony might not end anytime soon as the preacher decided to take advantage of the many relatives and attendees who perhaps looked like they needed a Savior. Finally we spoke our vows and had ceremonially become one.

I truly do not remember much else from that day. The fresh fruit salad, potato salad and lunchmeat were pretty good, as the older church ladies who tend to do such things prepared it. The basement where the reception was held was a bit cooler. We had already lost a number of our guests from the heat of the unrelenting sermon spoken by the gray-haired pastor and the temperature in the sanctuary. The two combined were just too much for some, like one of my work mates who was on a lot of illegal drugs at that time. But what I do remember on that May 24th of 40 years ago was that I knew that I knew I was to marry my soul mate, Mary Elizabeth Mohr. I had not one single doubt that this decision was led by God and that I was obeying God by saying “I do” that day. As we soon celebrate our 40th anniversary, I still do, Mary.

Encouragement, Marriage

Marry a Prostitute?

You fall in love with a prostitute. Well, not exactly. You just happen to bump into her on the street, no, not that way either. Actually, you have been actively rebuking the voice that keeps telling you to take the woman not of your dreams and marry her. She is a prostitute, an “adulterous” wife who will have “children of unfaithfulness.” Ridiculous? I think so, but God didn’t when He told Hosea to marry this woman of the night, Gomer, and have children with her. Gomer even continued to remain unfaithful while in the marriage. Perhaps she was a temple prostitute for a foreign god, but now she finds herself on the auction block. Most likely she is sick and no longer beautiful or desirable, a throw away. Her life is wasting away and it is a more than obvious, and legal, time for a divorce.

images-16Unbelievably Gomer’s husband hears of her plight, gathers some money and some extra grain for good measure and heads down to one of the worst places in his city, where slaves are auctioned like farm animals. This faithful husband buys back his unfaithful, adulterous and most likely diseased wife for 15 pieces of silver. At this point we could stop and say what an amazing love story, the stuff Hollywood movies are made of (remember the movie Pretty Women?). But it’s not a Hollywood movie, it actually happened and is recorded in the book of Hosea in the Old Testament.

This story, this amazing picture is about how much God loves us even when we are “adulterous” and unfaithful to Him. In His mercy He implores us to come to Him for healing as He binds up our wounds and restores us (Hosea 6: 1,2). Even though prostitution (unfaithfulness) and arrogance is in our heart, He loves us and longs to walk with us. He sent His Son to purchase us back from slavery and to forgive us of our sins as we turn away from those sins.  Have you sinned against your heavenly Father or your spouse? Know that forgiveness awaits you.


Children, Marriage, Parents, Prayer

Growing in Values and Vision as a Couple

images-15Mary and I were in our first year of marriage and I don’t think either of us had a huge burden for un-churched or underprivileged children. Our pastor asked if we would like to start a bus ministry and once he defined it for us and we received training in it, we were sold as to its value. Reaching a child had the potential of changing a life forever and touching a family.

After filling several buses with some pretty wild city kids we fell in love with the whole ministry. Their needs were huge but they were being touched through a pretty amazing children’s program coupled with our love through weekly Saturday visits to them and their family before picking them up Sunday AM. It didn’t take long until we figured out how valuable children are to our heavenly Father, and from the vision of another, our hearts were hooked. We went on to do eight years of missionary work with adjudicated delinquent teenage males and then several years of social work in foster care. As our heart grew we found ourselves developing a deep value for reaching children, teens and their families.images-13

How about you, have you discovered your heart being enlarged by the Lord for some form of ministry only to have it become a deep value for you as a couple? If not, ask Him to show you His co-vision for the two of you.

Encouragement, Prayer

An Amazing Circuit Rider and a Nation Called America

images-19Francis Asbury preached more than sixteen thousand messages before he died in March of 1816. At about the time of the American Revolution, there were approximately 5,000 Methodists churches and Asbury, an Englishman who never married, had a direct effect upon changing that figure. This circuit rider who is said to have traveled over 300,000 miles on horseback was out to grow the church. By the end of his life there were 200,000 Methodist churches all across America. Asbury slept in barns and wood sheds, was ill much of his life, dealt with depression and doubt, but he took seriously the task God had assigned him.

Father, may Your kingdom come and may Your will be done in this great nation called America. On this National Day of Prayer we remember men like Francis Asbury who gave their lives for Your gospel of freedom to come and to change lives. May we continue to fight the fight, preach the gospel and see souls made new. We ask You for miracles, signs and wonders to follow the teaching of Your word and we humbly ask for a spirit of repentance to come and a great awakening to follow. In Jesus’ name.

Marriage, Postmarital, Prayer

Seven Secrets to Save Your Marriage

  1. images-9Keep dating. Just because you have said, “I do” does not mean the dating scene for you as a couple is over. Keep the fire lit by spending time alone doing what the two of you love to do together. Continue having fun!
  2. Get a weekend away. Once a quarter or at the very least, twice a year take a weekend away together. Travel a short distance and get away from your home, the kids and your local environment by staying at a hotel or a bed and breakfast. It will help the two of you to get back to the two of you.
  3. Drink coffee. A pastor friend of mine once told me, “Coffee saved our marriage.” Wondering what on earth he meant he went on to explain that taking time together over coffee to simply listen to one another was a marriage lifesaver. Their short coffee dates provoked the kind of communication and connection they needed.images-10
  4. Stay sexual. Do not allow busyness, children, jobs or ministry to steal intimacy from you. Stay sexually connected because it is unhealthy to do otherwise. If you need to, make a schedule for sex and agree to frequency. A schedule will actually bring freedom to both of you. Why not, you schedule everything else in life. (I Cor. 7:3,4)
  5. Pray together. In our book, Called Together, we state that the most intimate thing you can be involved in with another human being is to pray together. When we pray, really pray, we reveal our hearts to each other. To reveal our heart to God and one another on a regular basis is to remain spiritually connected. Nothing says oneness like prayer together. (Matthew 18:19)
  6. Praise in public; construct in private. Speak words of life and affirmation to your spouse, especially when in public. Let the world around you know that this person is the one (the only one) and that you are madly in love with him/her. When we have constructive words to share keep them full of grace while maintaining a position of humility, always speaking them in private.images-11 copy
  7. Respect one another. Disrespect is rampant in our culture and it’s unattractive and ungodly. To show respect is literally to show honor and who on this earth does not want to feel honor, especially from the one they love?

May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife [spouse] of your youth. (Proverbs 5:18)