The Japanese garden appeared magical in the nighttime glow of twinkle lights while the mystical sounds of water bubbling over smooth stones added to the chemistry. An inviting bench strategically placed in the shadow of a Willow tree tempted the young couple to stop and enjoy the moment. They seemed perfectly content holding hands as her head rested upon his shoulder. They knew at the end of the path a bungalow awaited where they would spend their first night together. Sounds perfect, right? And it was just that. Fifty-one years ago tonight, we sat on that bench together. So, what ‘super glue’ worked to cement this union? No, it wasn’t love at first sight; it wasn’t finding a soul mate. It was the strong commitment we made to God to love and honor until death would bring separation.
I suppose this old-school commitment is out-of-date and out of style today, but God’s word has not changed and His idea of marriage hasn’t either. Society says, ‘do what feels good and follow your heart’. That does not work for me. My heart follows God’s word and my desire is to do what makes the Lord feel good. Marriage is not about what makes me happy or what makes me feel good; marriage is all about two people becoming one, two career paths joining, and two people bringing glory to God by the way they love and relate to each other.
In the beginning, God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18) God did not make a woman to be just a companion to man, He made and joined two halves that would melt and form one compatible union. The man is no longer complete on his own and neither is the woman. Only together do they become ‘one’; one heart, one destiny, one testimony to God’s ability to form a new and living creation.
This perfection can only happen with two willing hearts set on pleasing God. It can be a finely tuned creation that operates at maximum potential, or it can be a misfiring, grating, rattle-trap that struggles to make it from one stage to the next. These two individuals will choose for themselves what kind of union they will have. They will either be a blessing to each other, to their children, to their community, or they will be a needy sponge that soaks up energy and squeezes the life out of each other. We are watching the number of unhappy couples increase at a rapid pace. What is the key to perfect union?
God’s word says love is the key. There have been times I have said with my mouth, ‘I love you,’ but my actions have said, ‘I disrespect you.’ 1 Corinthians 13 says I can speak with the tongue of an angel, but have no love and I will only sound like a clanging cymbal. It says love suffers long (I’m often impatient) – it says love will not envy, or parade itself, or behave rudely, and does not seek its own. I’m afraid I am often tempted to seek my own, to have it my way. Truth is, I am no longer a child – I no longer can act like one. Neither can you.
It doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it easy. But it is possible! If you find yourself married, read again 1 Corinthians 13. Ask God to help you find the right balance in your relationship. If marriage has failed for you, don’t linger in guilt of past mistakes. God stands ready to forgive and move on to future possibilities. Concentrate on LOVE. The love of God is our constant example and model to prove to us the strength of love, the stability of love, and the purpose of love. Godly love is the theme of a well-balanced life. Find your happiness in love.