I believe in keeping the “romance” in marriage. In fact, I take my wife on a date every single week. Yup — whenever we make our weekly run to Costco for groceries and supplies, I always take her over to the food court area and buy her a hotdog. They’re only “a buck fifty” and come with a free drink. We usually sit at one of the plastic tables where we can enjoy a scenic view of the store’s interior and, occasionally, wave at someone we know who is checking out.
Ne’ and I have kind of gotten to the point where we can only laugh and roll our eyes every time someone find outs how long we’ve been married and asks, “How do you manage to stay married to the same person for so long?” And we’re like, “duhhhhh, it’s MARRIAGE!” Like, “what part of “till death do us part” do you not get? Weren’t you listening up the last time you attended a wedding ceremony and the minister repeated Jesus’ words: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6, NASB)? Just how difficult is that to comprehend? I don’t know, maybe they don’t say that much these days. Maybe it’s more like, “What therefore the state has legally sanctioned, feel free to disregard whenever it doesn’t suit you anymore!” >>> sheeeeeeesh <<<
Marriage isn’t that hard! You just “do it!” You just make a commitment and “keep it!” You settle in your heart, once and for all, the fact that this is the one person that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with; and then stop looking around for “greener pastures!” Of course, this all sounds much easier coming from two people who are in love with the Lord Jesus first and foremost. If there is a “secret” to our long and happy marriage, maybe that’s it! Ask either of us, and we’ll tell you: “You gotta love God, and want to serve and please God, more than anything or anyone else on this earth!” People who make themselves number one, or their spouse number one, or their kids number one are heading for trouble; not only in their marriage, but in virtually every other aspect of life as well. But when Jesus is number one, and you are content to be number two in your spouse’s life, and he or she in yours, then you’ve got the right footing not only for longevity, but for real happiness, in marriage; and in every other relationship as well.
Yeah, but Philip, what about when people blow it? What about when people do stumble and fall? And what about those situations in which two people eventually discover that they simply cannot live together due to physical or emotional abuse by one of the other? To these types of questions I answer, “Hey, now you understand the destructiveness of sin!” The Bible says, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14-15, NASB) — the death of love, the death of relationships, maybe even physical death, and, without doubt, the death of one’s immortal soul. Careful, the death of a marriage may signal that one person or the other, or perhaps even both, are on a sinful, selfish spiral downward to eternal separation from God.
But love “repents” — when we realize we’ve done wrong! And love “forgives” — when we’re the one who’s been done wrong! In fact, “love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (I Corinthians 13:4-6, NASB). There is no relationship that authentic love cannot protect and preserve for a lifetime. And there is no broken relationship that, if given the chance, love cannot heal and restore. Now I know that’s true because love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails!” (I Corinthians 13:7, NASB). People fail, but love never fails. Relationships fail because people fail to put God first in their hearts and lives, and therefore they cannot, will not, allow themselves to love like that!
I’m not saying that everybody who manages to stay married to the same person for a lifetime does so because they love the Lord. There are plenty of people in the world who, somehow, manage to keep their marriages intact despite a general disregard for spiritual thing altogether. But in today’s world, with the easing of social pressure to stay married, it is far more likely that any given couple will turn to divorce as a solution to their relationship issues than will not. That’s a sad commentary on our contemporary society, is it not? And it’s one more reason why PEOPLE NEED JESUS!
Okay, back to the Costco thing. I know some of you are thinking, “what a cheapskate! His idea of a dinner date is a Costco dawg!” But, hey, romance is where you find it! Sitting with my baby, looking into her eyes, chatting heart-to-heart with her about this and that, holding hands under the table… I’m telling ya, this is the stuff REAL ROMANCE is made of. Who needs candlelight and wine, soft music and dancing, and all those other trimmings? Granted, that’s all nice occasionally, like at anniversary time — when we can afford it. But why wait around for those big moments once or twice a year when there’s a world of romance waiting to be explored over a basket of laundry, or a dirty car that needs washing, or even — gotta love em — a good old-fashion Costco dog?!?!?
On a luuuvvvvvvvv safari,
~ Philip ~