GOD’S SECRET TO LONG-TERM MARRIAGE
Father God, I remember very few things about that painful place in time when my wife and I divorced. Is this what you want me to reflect on this morning?
My child, it is time you started helping other married couples.
OK. Well, for those readers who don’t know, here is a glimpse into my story:
I had already been walking with Christ for several decades and was actively involved in bi-vocational ministry and was leading a men’s Bible study, providing coaching for many pastors, and having regular quiet times. Yet my heart was hardened toward my wife who had cheated on me and in my self-righteous indignation, I helped cause our marriage to fall apart. I could have forgiven her. I could have humbled myself. But my pride, which historically has gotten in the way many times over the years, once again reared its ugly head.
Yes, child. The marriage was doomed from the start. She was an alcoholic and deeply wounded from childhood. You should have not gotten married in the first place. You did not ask me. You made her your idol, and took your eyes off of me.
Yes, Lord. I repent of that.
You have repented many times. Once is enough.
Lord, separated from her, and alone with you, this verse came and fell on a hardened heart: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV There was no forgiveness for her, no softening of my heart, and in my human wisdom determined there was too much damage done. We divorced, and I am sorry for my part in that failure. You have redeemed me, and given me the perfect wife. I am grateful for that. Help me to humble myself, daily, that I may serve and love her with your love.
Dear child, Patty is my gift to you. That is true. Just like you are my gift to her. You are equals. Reflect on this: 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NIV.
Thank you Lord. Let me ask you about the book I am writing: “Secrets to a Long-Term Marriage.” I was going to wait to start teaching on this subject until I have been married for 25-years, because of feeling the lack of credibility on the subject. What do you think.
Dear child, you have always taught on subjects you very little about. How is this anything different? I have given you the gift of teaching. And the book is filled with other people’s wisdom. By the way, you have never interviewed me and asked me what I think on this subject.
OK. Great idea. What to you is the secret to long-term marriage?
It is my Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37–40, Mark 12:28–34, and Luke 10:25–28.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29–34 NIV
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:25-28 NIV
Lord, so I have your permission to start teaching about marriage and to publish this book?
Dear child, you need a few more years of collecting quotes from those with 25 to 50 years. Increase your efforts in doing interviews, and start writing more on the subject. Many of the Pastors who are reading this daily journal are struggling in their marriages and they need to have solutions. Here is my best solution.
Got it. My wife is my closest neighbor, but if I love everyone with your love, naturally this love will be there for Patty in ever increasing measure. Yes?
You can not give what you have not received from me. You need to give to Patty my love. Not your human form of love. My love is pure and unconditional. Give her total, absolute love without condition. No matter how she behaves. No matter what she does for you, or does not do for you. Bathe her in Christ’s love, and she will become radiant. Watch her face. it will always tell you where you are at with her.
Thank you Lord. I did not expect our time to go this way at all today. Wow. Very helpful. Thank you for waking me up extra early too. This is amazing. I praise you and worship you. Amen.
Your aspiring servant,
12 May 2023