Over a decade ago when my counsellor asked me what I was doing with all this marriage knowledge I was accumulating, I was confused. “What do you mean? I’m trying to make my marriage better” I answered. She pressed, though. “You have a responsibility to share what you know!” That simple conversation led me to start writing, the articles first appearing in the weekly bulletins, then linked to the church’s then new social media accounts, and finally appearing monthly in the Circuit Rider. It also led me to form one of the opinions that I now consider a major part of who I am: “Our blessings are not just for us - they are for us to be a blessing to others. Our trials and troubles are also not just for us. They are there so that we can understand the pain that others are going through, so that we can help.”
There are dozens of instances in the new testament that use some variation of the phrase “one another.” Love one another. Pray for one another. Break bread with one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Further is the admonition to mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice. I have tried to keep these scriptures in the back of my mind with each of the articles I have written. Is your marriage doing great? Awesome! I will cheer you on. Are you and your spouse going through a rough patch? I have tried to be here to offer biblical advice, and provide a Godly perspective on how to navigate that. In the last few years I have found myself repeating themes, and citing verses that I have cited before. I’ve been doing this for a while now… Eleven years. One hundred and thirty “moments.”
The time has come, I think, to put this project aside. Marriage ministry will remain a passion of mine, and though it might take a different form, I will surely continue doing something in this arena.
So, what have I learned? Two things:
One - Communication is the closest thing we have to *THE* key to a successful marriage. So many marriage problems can be solved - or at least mitigated, lessened - through honest and open communication with your spouse. Speaking the truth in love, as Paul implores, and focusing on how you feel (and not on trying to change your husband or wife) and then working together to come to a solution.
Two - I think perhaps the best marriage verse in the Bible occurs in Ecclesiastes, attributed to Solomon, waxing poetic on the nature of existence. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 makes a good case for the value of marriage:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Solomon goes on though. Verse 12 reads: Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. The three strand cord? Husband, wife, and God. THAT is the relationship that will stand fast.