At Christmastime, my wife and I remembered the evening a decade before when we became engaged.
Linnea, my wife-to-be, lived nearly three hours north of me. For the previous couple of months, I had been visiting her virtually every weekend, typically driving up on Friday evening after work and returning home on Saturday or Sunday. (I should mention that she still lived with her family at this point and I stayed in their guestroom on my visits. We weren’t shacking up every weekend!)
Christmas was on a Saturday that year. I had foregone my usual weekend visit to celebrate with my family while Linnea did the same. But that Christmas evening, I paid a surprise visit. And it was on that night that I asked her to become my wife. She said yes.
That was ten years ago.
Ten years can bring a lot of changes. For example, my wife and I just welcomed our fifth baby into the world a week before Christmas. Lots of changes in ten years? I’ll say!
As I think back on that night, I’m reminded about the goodness of marriage. On that Christmas night ten years ago, we were two twenty-somethings in love. Happy, eager, ready to begin a new life together. Clueless about what the future would hold, of course, but wanting to face it together.
Today, a decade later, we’re still in love. We’ve been with each other for both the good times and bad times, the ups and downs, the pregnancies, the job loss, the new career, the joys and struggles of parenting, and more.
And it has been good.
Marriage was God’s idea in the first place. And it was God Himself who said that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. Making a wife for Adam was God’s last act of creation, the final, finishing touch on all He had made. God had seen the goodness of all that He had created, except for the solitude of Adam; in creating Eve, He resolved the one thing He had said wasn’t good.
In one way or another, I suppose marriage has always been under attack. Certainly in modern times our culture has gotten away from God’s ideal of marriage as a fundamentally good thing. Whether it’s no-fault divorce, open marriage, same-sex marriage, the “single mother by choice” movement, spousal abuse, unfaithfulness, pornography—all of these are departures from God’s plan of a man and woman living together in a joyful, committed covenant of marriage.
But it’s not just through the big, obvious sins like adultery that we betray God’s ideal for our marriages. Anger, bitterness, resentment, a critical spirit, self-centeredness, and laziness can also get in the way of enjoying the marriage God wants us to have. Which one of us hasn’t been guilty of these from time to time?
But there’s one more danger to our marriages. This one may not even be a sin, per se, but it’s still a threat. It’s easy to slip into, and can be hard to notice. What am I talking about? Coasting. Going on autopilot. Life gets busy. The demands are ever-present. Everything else can seem more urgent, clamoring for our attention more noisily, so it’s easy to stop putting energy, attention, creativity, and intentionality into our relationship with our spouse.
Given the importance of marriage, it shouldn’t be surprising that it has so many threats. But God wants us to experience a joyful, passionate marriage relationship. He wants us to set that example for our children. He wants us to show a world that’s quickly forgetting His ways how wonderful a Christian marriage can be.
There’s a lot at stake for all of us. A lot worth fighting and working for.
For those of us who are blessed to be married, let’s keep investing in our marriages. With God’s help, let’s stand strong against the currents of our culture, the temptations of the world, and the apathy that can too easily set in.
If you’re single and wondering if marriage is still a good thing in our modern world, I would offer you my simple answer: yes, it is. God created it, and it’s still good.
Please pray for our state and nation and especially for our newly inaugurated officials in Springfield and Washington D.C.
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