I enjoyed the privilege this past weekend of performing the wedding ceremony for my cousin Jessie (used to be Dagenhardt) and her new husband Daniel Crouse. To be totally honest, I'm not the biggest fan of weddings unless they are the ones that I am performing, although a really good choice of meats and fish at a reception can change my tune pretty quickly.
My daughter Reynolds was the beautiful flower girl
Marriage is a very sacred area to me. I won't quote stats (mainly because I'm too lazy to Google the numbers) but I do believe that about 50% of marriages end in divorce, with the percentage being even higher for second and third marriages. This just isn't how it's supposed to be. So, with those thoughts in mind, I wanted to post my Top 10 thoughts on the institution of marriage.
1. Marriage is God's idea (Genesis 2:24). God's ideas are never a flash in the pan. And neither should your marriage be.
2. Marriage must be built on mutual respect. She ain't your old lady, he ain't your old man. Once you start referring to each other like that then you've lost respect for each other.
3. Marriage is meant to last. I know that there are some circumstances where staying in a marriage is next to impossible, but in the vast majority of cases it comes down to a choice. Let me give you a suggestion: If your are struggling in your marriage then choose to get counseling help somewhere. Don't give up on your marriage without exhausting all of your options.
4. Marriage isn't the end of your freedom. If anything, being married gives you the freedom to be totally open and honest with someone who will still love you in spite of your flaws. If you are upset because now you can't have all of that free time with they guys/girls that you used to enjoy, then you need a heart adjustment.
5. Marriages grow best when they are taken care of. Go on dates together. Read marriage books or go on marriage retreats together. Step away from your busy life and spend time alone together where you can talk and laugh.
6. Marriage takes work. See #5 above for some ides. And stop making excuses if things don't seem to be going the way that you want them to. If you aren't putting in the effort, then you aren't seeing the results.
7. Marriage isn't a 50-50 deal. It's more like 100-100. That is, it takes full effort on both sides (thank you Dr. Gary Chapman for giving me this advice many years ago). And men, if you and your wife choose to have children, remember that they are your children too. Stay home and help raise them.
8. Marriage is serious business. Some people get married because it seems to be the next logical step in life or they don't want to be too old when they get married. Those aren't good enough reasons to get married. Who cares if it takes 30 years or more to find the man/woman God has for you? Better to wait on the Lord's guidance than to trust your own (see #3 above).
9. Marriage gets better the longer you're in it. A wise man once told my wife and I this word: OMIB. Okay, so it's not a real word but it does stand for something - Old Marriage Is Best. He had been happily married for many years and after almost 10 years of marriage myself I see the point.
10. Marriage is God's idea. I know that this was also #1 but I feel like it's important to start and end with this. God's ideas are good and as such marriage is a model of God's love for us. In fact, marriage is so special to God that He uses it as a metaphor to describe the relationship of His church to His son, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:9).
I hope these 10 observations serve as a source of encouragement and caution for each one of you who are married or are considering marriage. And let me reiterate what I wrote in #3: If you are struggling in marriage, seek help and seek it now. Marriage is too precious to allow it to waste away without giving it all the help that you can.
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