I have recently heard the joyous news of engagements and marriages from several couples. As I pray for them and think about how they are starting new seasons in their lives, I cannot help but consider the last 40 years. Oh, it seems so inconceivable so much time has passed since I was accepting a proposal of marriage and thinking about spending the rest of my life with that person. Although this blog will be about how dreams play out differently in reality, I am grateful that I remain hopeful and grateful for God did give us His plan of marriage.
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (The Message)
I believe marriage is a covenant, a sacred commit with vows, made between a man and woman and God. Each party makes promises to love and honor each other until death brings to a conclusion the promises made. God will always keep His end of the bargain. It is the two human factors who may fail to keep their promise. In fact, I will say without a doubt the humans will fail to love as God has ordained.
1 Corinthians 13 has become the standard, even the Marriage Manual for me. In these eight verses, I find God’s definition of love and, if followed, will create the spiritual environment where His Spirit will dwell and bind a couple in their marriage.
The orange-blossom-vision of what a beautiful life together will be, often ages like fine wine. I see myself and my husband on a porch in worn but sturdy rocking chairs. But more often the reality is the failing health of one and the caregiving that must be given by the other. Do we ever consider this scene when we stand before God and make our covenant vows? Do we read 1 Corinthians 13 and grasp the facets of the love God gives us? It is God’s love that makes it possible to care for an ailing spouse for 20 or more years with patience and kindness as well as gentleness.
Marriage is more than starry hopes and 50 years of blissful life together. It is holding the Hand of God through days of difficulties and times of great joy. Marriage is a gift from God to two people He has chosen for each other. And there is the most wonderful of all realities. God’s great love for us!