For too many years before we met we took too much for granted, sleepwalking through life in a self-infatuated stupor.
No numbering the days when we thought there was an endless supply.
No vision of where we wanted to end or how we might get there.
And the wreckage left behind is not pretty.
Divorces, broken hearts, hurting children.
And our examples a poor reflection of the glory of God who created marriage as a holy covenant of companionship for one man, one woman, for life. And a solidly loving and respectful marriage is a portrayal of Christ’s relationship with His believers.
And more’s the pity.
While we made precious promises at the altar in years gone by our hearts didn’t follow through intentionally. Half a lifetime passed before we surrendered all to God, realizing that every choice made is witnessed, every word uttered is heard, and God who is holy takes us wholly at our word.
Expecting us to keep it, yet forgiving us when we don’t and us grateful seventy times seven.
Our sad days of darkness turned into years as we sped circles in a relationship demolition derby where everyone lost.
But God’s tender mercy drove us forward at every bend in the road until our lives intersected. We share our story hoping it may allow others to avoid the pain we have known.
Joining together later in the game we are acutely aware of making every moment count, making up for lost time and all that was ravaged by an army of hungry locusts.
Seeking, knocking and asking and the waning winds of 2013 whispering.
Be intentional — live with intention.
And we may stumble along the way but every step brings us closer to God’s ideal.
Being more like Jesus, especially in our marriage.
God giving grace for growing as a husband and wife. And Him pleased when we bend the knee grateful and rise to the task of doing our utmost for Him.
Yet how often do spouses put marriages on auto-pilot or worse and then worry and wonder why they aren’t finding satisfaction. But wishes are only that until we start living the glory of God — the essence of who we are — in a purposeful manner in our marriages.
And marriages done well, whether they are five months or 50 years old, are perfect portraits for showing the world that God is love and God is good. And miracles happen every day.
Our marriage began in July 2011 after a 47-day courtship. And that after years of traveling the hard road which included divorces and broken relationships, old wounds and bad words, sinfulness and great sorrow.
The steep learning curve in the past two and a half years brought healing and growth, both individually and as a couple, and a deeper relationship with God. And lessons are learned every new day, too.
As my Michael wrote me recently, Our journey to this, our third Christmas, hasn’t been easy. We have known both elation and disappointment, courage and fear. Yet at every moment we have enjoyed the safety of soul that Father provided for us in his Son, our beloved savior, Jesus. In him lies our hope and fulfillment of our destiny.
Our big destiny is living our lives as Mr. and Mrs. Little Christs with a marriage that gives Him glory.
Each day an opportunity to love better and live on purpose, not wasting anymore time for too many years were spent in the badlands and nothing is ever guaranteed.
And we know that marriages aren’t only killed by abuse, addictions or infidelity. They can die from neglect, disrespect, selfishness and a lack of love. And sometimes, with the latter, the end coming isn’t seen until it’s too late.
With 2014 stretching out ahead we ask the Lord for laser-focus love and grace to intentionally build an even stronger and sweeter union.
**1. Practice love according to 1 Corinthians 13.
**2. Be the first to say I’m sorry.
**3. Never hold onto bad feelings or poor attitudes.
**4. Remember your manners. Kindness counts.
**5. Stop nagging, bossing and complaining.
**6. Start respecting, appreciating and thanking. Magnify your mate’s good points especially in moments of contention, impatience or irritation.
**7. Seek to serve and look for ways to help your spouse.
**8. Take nothing for granted in your marriage. A friend of mine who recently lost her husband commented that there are 1,000 things about her man that she misses terribly and she is grieving each one. Count your blessings.
**9. Prayerfully create a shared vision for your marriage. Dream together. Marriage is a duet and each partner’s heart desire must resound in any plans for the future.
**10. Choose to be second. Marriage is not about me but we.
**11. Surprise each other with little gifts just to make the other smile.
**12. Take turns planning date nights and think outside the box.
**13. Don’t flirt with your co-worker or ex. Ever!
**14. Pursue your spouse by blessing each other, spending time together and enjoying sexual intimacy.
**15. Never forget that as you treat another, you treat Jesus. And as one flesh, one heart, if you choose to hurt your partner you will hurt yourself.
As Christians we should strive to be one in marriage, as God is one, so commit this verse to heart and make it a priority with your spouse.
As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another.
Is your heart breaking? Or someone you know hurting?
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