Read: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
Reflect: The most common reasons for divorce are marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of equality in the relationship, too much arguing, abuse, infidelity and lack of commitment.
There have been times when my marriage has struggled with many of these issues. We got married young. I was a 19; my bride was 18. No matter how hard I tried, her expectations of me were unrealistic. I had more pride than wisdom and treated her inequitably. We argued often. But our commitment to our relationship never wavered.
Our marriage has survived two especially trying phases. First was the “Just Getting Started” stage. This was a period when we jockeyed for position and power, a period when our dysfunctions were front and center and our mutual respect struggled to grow. Then came the “Mid-life Crisis” stage when physical attributes and appearances shifted, expectations went unfulfilled, and respect and appreciation was not shown. Thankfully we made it through these challenging stages and have now entered the “Golden Love” stage.
A few months ago, we celebrated 56 years of marriage. Quite often my wife says, “I love you,” and I respond, “I love you more,” which always brings a laugh. We are grateful to be sharing a “Golden Love.”
React: Try allowing God’s love to fulfill you and begin a re-engagement upward, inward, and outward. Never give up; never stop growing in love.
Pray: God, I pray for troubled marriages to re-engage and grow in God’s loving grace. I pray they realize an inward healing, so they can give love outwardly to others–especially their wife or husband and children.