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I have been woefully absent from blogging for a long time. In the midst of life adjustments I forgot about blogging, but I think I’m back. And I have also moved.

Come check out the new digs here: www.EveryManComplete.com

I received a prayer letter from some friends serving in a foreign land this morning. What a challenge he put forth in just a short amount of paragraphs. Here is what it reads:

Tuesday, 10:35pm.  After a brimming full weekend of ministry (attending friend’s 50th birthday party, preaching at a small church), Monday had been a day of preparation for guests (6 arrived on Tuesday—two runs to the airport).  A neighbor had confided to us their marriage is on the brink.  Now when we wanted to be finding our pillows, we were sitting in our  neighbor’s kitchen, peeling back the debris from a war zone—a cruel and vicious war.

What hope do you offer two people who have systematically destroyed all hope, trust, and respect for each other?

Jesus Christ. He is the hope for the hopeless and a refuge for the broken.

I wish I could write and say that both offenders fell to their knees and prayed for forgiveness from each other from God.  As best as we could we enunciated the Gospel and told them of their need and the remedy found only in Christ.

How hard it is to see people remain unyielding and their hearts blinded.  But part of ministry, real ministry, is seeing people reject the truth and endeavoring to love them and continue to pray and continue to share God’s truth with them.  Real ministry takes a toll.  It takes endurance.  It takes walking by faith and not by sight.  It often comes when we are at the end of ourselves. When it is not convenient, or wanted, or ideal.  Please pray for us that we would have grace and strength to engage and face the opportunities of real ministry.

I was asked to pray in a wedding of my second cousin this weekend and here is what I composed as a wedding prayer.

“Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. We thank you, also for consecrating the union of this man and this woman in Your name.

We ask by the power of the Holy Spirit, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman.

Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace.

Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. May their love be patient and kind, bearing all things, believing in all things, hoping in all things, and enduring in all things.

May their seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto them. May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to you. May they minimize each others weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each others points of beauty and strength, and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes.

May they never take each others love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “Out of all this world you have chosen me.” When life is done, may they be found then as now still hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve you happily, faithfully together, until at least one shall lay the other in the arms of God.

We pray this in Jesus’ most Holy and Precious name, Amen.”

Who do you love more?

My wife and I have watched the reality tv drama of Jon & Kate. I believe last night was our last episode. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I’ve watched it at all, but tonight it has got me thinking. If Jon or Kate were to answer the above question, their simple answer as stated on the show would be their kids, not each other. I believe when we as husbands and wives place our children above our spouses we are setting up ourselves for the same potential downfall.

When I chose to ask Katie (my wife) to marry me it was for better or for worse. We don’t know what the future holds but I chose her. Yes, God in His Sovereignty brought us together, but I made the commitment and covenant with her. I chose to love her in sickness and in health. I chose to love her in wealth or poverty. I chose to love her when things are going good and when they are not. I made the choice, before God, family and friends.

When our daughter Madelyn gets to the age and asks me who I love more, I will answer in truth that it is her mother. I will explain to her that the primacy of my love for their mother is a good thing that will give stability to all of our lives. She might not understand in the moment, but she will. Now don’t get me wrong I love Madelyn desperately (and any other children God might bless us with), I love her with the kind of love that wants the very best for her and which seeks to protect her from pain and anger and evil that is very prevalent in this world. I pray for Madelyn continually, asking that God would protect her. I never chose to love my daughter. From the very moment Katie and I learned we would have a child we loved her. I would get up at night to feed her or rock her to sleep when she was little and have stayed home with her these past three years. I love her fiercely. But Katie has first place in my heart.

Some might object to this as not correct. I do understand there is a difference in the kind of love; the passionate  and romantic love I have for Katie is not the same as the parental love I  have for Madelyn. But I did not choose to love Madelyn, I did choose to love Katie and commit myself solely to her as her husband.

As we have seen this drama unfold on television it is very evident that Jon and Kate place a higher value on their kids much more than each other (I don’t call it love). It seems their wedding vows were only suggestions and not as commitments. They have put their children ahead of their covenant of marriage. There seemed to be some sort of competition of love in that family set up, but there is only so much that can be understood by television.

This love and commitment I have for Katie is exactly what Madelyn needs to be able to grow up in stable home, where mom and dad will remain together committed under God and to each other. We pray that someday Madelyn will find loving spouses whom she will love more than us and more than anyone else.

-jeff

See this post on Tim Challies blog over a year ago that talked about this subject. Some of which I wrote about comes from his post.

I want to point you all to a post a friend of mine who was married this past weekend to a great girl.

Go read it here.

Thanks Justin – God’s blessings to you and Sarah in your life together!

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