Nineteen years ago I married my BEST FRIEND… Annie (I’m the only one allowed to call her that). Funny, I thought it was just eighteen years till I pulled out the calendar and did the math. Chuck Swindoll once said, “Marriage is like a screen door… those on the outside want to get in and those on the inside want to get out.” I’m the exception to that rule. I’m very content in being inside the confines of marriage. Is my marriage perfect? No, because people aren’t perfect. But one thing is for sure: I’m glad I married her and I definitely got the better deal in the arrangement. I can think of very few women who would put up with being a Pastor’s wife (In our 19 years of marriage we’ve moved to 5 different congregations!)
What has been the secret of almost 20 years of marriage? Two things:
(1) FAITH in Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:19 says that we love because Christ first loved us. Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary, “By nature, we know little about love (Titus 3:3–6); God had to show it to us on the cross (Rom. 5:8) and plant it in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).”
(2) A proper understanding of what LOVE is.
When I think of Love, I think of Paul’s description in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
NASB: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
There is nothing in those verses that describe LOVE as a feeling. Yet too often that’s what we’ve restricted love to being. Love isn’t so much something you feel as much as it is something you DO. Love is a VERB! Everything in those verses describe something you DO whether you FEEL like it or not.
Someone once said that FEELINGS often follow ACTIONS. In other words, if you act like you LOVE someone, the FEELINGS will eventually follow. I think too many people check out of a relationship when the feeling are gone. Love is a COMMITMENT.
I don’t always “feel” in love with Anna (I’m sure she could say the same thing about me) but that’s where FAITH both in Christ and in His ability to enable me to LOVE comes into play. The beautiful thing I’ve found in my faith… is that my relationship with Christ has deepened my love for my wife and vise versa. Imagine LOVE being a triangle with Christ at the apex and the Husband and Wife at each corner of the base. As the husband and wife grow closer and closer to Christ they in the process become closer and closer to one another.
Happy Anniversary, ANNIE… I would do it all over again!