“Well, don’t you look handsome?”
“Here, let me get that for you.”
“Want some popcorn?”
“Here’s a blanket for you.”
“Mil and I have shared many wonderful memories with each other.”
“I love you.”
These are statements that I heard over the Thanksgiving holiday from two people who are still head-over-heels-in-love with each other . . . after 62 years. Dad and Mom are two sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ, daily needing grace to work at their marriage, and willing to walk in that grace for God’s glory and their marriage.
My in-laws have always been a marriage inspiration to me. I am sure my father-in-law has his equals, but no one loves their wife any more than he does, and my mother-in-law simply adores her husband. And yes, they have had their share of conflicts, gripes, hardships, heartaches, and other marriage related issues.
What causes a marriage to continue to grow and thrive even past 62 years? Well, the answer is found in Scripture. The answer is found in the daily application of the following grace-enabled commands and principles.
DAILY . . .
- Soak your soul in the grace of God (2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9a)
- Love one another (1 Corinthians 13)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10)
- Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26)
- Submit to God and one another (Ephesians 5:21)
- Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
- Forgive one another (Colossians 3:13)
- Build up, encourage one another (Romans 15:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:25)
- Bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)
- Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another (Ephesians 4:32,
- Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10)
- Welcome one another as Christ welcomes us (Romans 15:7)
- Enjoy the act of marriage with only one another (Genesis 2:25; Hebrews 13:4)
- Make each word a gift not a gripe (Ephesians 4:29)
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
- Pray for each another (James 5:16)
- Imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1)
- Grow in the application of God’s Word (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18)
Marriage is the creation of God and a gift from God (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:6; Ephesians 5:18-32). He can help your marriage grow and mature as He so designed if you will submit to Him each day. Furthermore, a marriage does not run on auto-pilot. You must make more deposits into your marriage than withdrawals.
If your marriage has grown stale, blah, ordinary, or headed for trouble, then surrender your rights. Get honest with God and each other. There’s mercy and grace with the Lord (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:16).
If your marriage is thriving, precious, meaningful, and fulfilling, keep doing what you have been doing each day. Do not take it for granted. Take one of the aforementioned list and work on it each day or each week. Enjoy the journey together with your eye on Christ and each other.
After our delicious Thanksgiving dinner, we went around the table and shared words of gratitude. Denise asked, “Dad, what are you thankful for?” His reply being a man of few words, “Many things.” And then with tears in his eyes, he pointed to Mom and simply said, “Her.” He didn’t need to say anything else.
Still growing and thriving after 62 years.