Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 57th year of marriage. In today’s world that is a significant amount of time together. When Paul wrote the above passage found in Ephesians chapter 5, he was giving God’s view on the subject of marriage. When two become one, separation is not an option. Staying married over a long span of time is not an easy task. Making two people think and act as if they were one is not accomplished overnight.
Staying together takes two working at it. Many of our divorces today are not mutual but one person decides to end the relationship. Not much you can do when one walks away. I am saying that to remind us all that to make a marriage last requires both mates working at it on a conscious level.
I once talked to a young lady who was getting married and I asked her, “What if it doesn’t work out like you think?” Her answer, “Then we’ll get a divorce.” I was quite blunt when I said, “Let me save you some time and money because it will not work out.” She just laughed. I was serious. Marriages don’t work out on their own. Husbands love their wives and wives respect their husbands. They don’t work out. The couple has to work them out. Loving the other more than self, helps. Giving in, compromising, helps. Wanting what is best for the other person instead of having your own way all the time helps.
Praying together helps. Worshiping together helps. Serving together helps. I’m trying to make a point here based on God’s one flesh idea. When each partner goes their own way, does their own thing, spends time with others, they soon lose sight of the oneness of marriage. When I was a young boy my father and mother listened to a newscaster named Gabriel Heater. He closed every broadcast with these words. “The family that prays together, stays together.” Prayer, worship, service, work, recreation together.
When Grace and I were dating at Harding College it was against the rules to hold hands. We broke that rule as often as we could. We still hold hands in church and the movies and watching TV and walking and sleeping. It signifies something I think. Storms come and winds blow. Trouble rears its ugly head. Jobs are lost, moves are made and hard times put pressure on a relationship. When two are one they keep holding hands.
Recently we had a couple at church go through the difficulty of one of them suffering from memory loss. I loved watching them walk out of the auditorium holding hands. No problem too great to keep them from being one.
What’s going on in your marriage today? Still holding hands? Don’t quit. To tell you the truth we figure that 57 years is a good starting place.