Great marriages are still possible when Christ is at the center
Last week, I shared with our Wednesday night group that I was returning to our First Peter sermon series on Sunday, and that we’d be looking in chapter three at Peter’s instructions to wives.
The husbands perked up, chuckled and said, “All right!”
Then I said, “Wait a minute. Technically, it’s Peter’s instructions to wives with difficult husbands.”
The wives liked that one and the husbands groaned as one lady commented, “That’s every wife.”
So husbands can be difficult, huh? What about wives?
A man was driving down the interstate when he was pulled over. The state patrolman walked up to the car, and the man asked, “What’s the problem, officer?”
“You were going at least 75 in a 55 mph zone.”
“Officer, I was going 65.”
The wife said, “Oh, Harry, you were going at least 80.”
The husband gave his wife a dirty look.
Then the officer said, “I also have to write you up for a broken taillight.”
The husband responded, “A broken taillight? I didn’t know about that.”
The wife said, “Oh, Harry, you mentioned that to me two weeks ago.”
“I’m also going to have to give you a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt,” said the officer.
The husband replied, “Well, I just took it off when you were walking up.”
The wife said, “Harry, you never wear a seatbelt.”
The husband’s irritation got away from him, and he said, “Woman, it’s time you shut your mouth!”
The officer asked, “Ma’am, does he always talk to you that way?”
The wife responded, “Only when he’s drunk.”
Building a lasting, loving marriage is a tough task since two imperfect and sometimes strong-willed people make up the marriage.
Someone said that Adam and Eve had a great marriage. Adam couldn’t bring up his mother’s cooking, and Eve couldn’t talk about the man she should have married.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of officiating a wedding. Sharing in such a special occasion is one of the joys of the pastorate. As I stood before this excited couple committing themselves to God and to one another, I reminded them, and the congregation, of several key ingredients that are present in a great marriage.
Among them is love. The kind of love that God expects is best described in I Corinthians 13:4-7 (New International Version):
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Another is sense of partnership. The Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return on their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up . . . Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10, 12, NIV). God intends for husbands and wives to be partners who support one another, and encourage one another.
Centering our lives on Christ is another key ingredient. When Jesus is first in our lives and in our marriage, then as individuals grow closer to Christ, they also grow closer to one another. When Jesus is first, then life is all about what He wants.
Finally, the glue that holds the marriage together and helps us persevere is commitment. The couple’s commitment must be to God, one another, and the divine institution of marriage itself. When we are committed to the marriage, then we can invest the nurture, and attention needed to build a great marriage.
A pastor had a very unique tradition. After pronouncing them husband and wife, he walks to the front door with the newly wed couple and says, “Before you go, the bride has the honor of ringing the bell.”
However, the bell is so heavy that she cannot ring it by herself. The pastor says to the groom, “Lend a hand.” Together they pull and the bell rings.
Then the pastor says to the couple, “Never forget that as long as you pull together, you can ring the bell.”
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road and invites you to join them Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.