Today, I want to share with you what I said to them at the ceremony, as I believe it is a message for a wider audience. I said,
“Justin, Taylor, your mom (soon to be mother-in-law) and I have been married for thirty-nine years this October. I wish I could say it was four decades of marital bliss, but I would be lying. Marriage is work. Hard work. Worthy of the work. I so wish that I had the insight I have accumulated over the past thirty-nine years, back in 1981. I would have been a much better husband, father, and person. One piece of wisdom I can share, I discovered only a few years ago. It relates to what the Bible says in Ephesians 5. In Ephesians 5, the Bible clearly presents a command to husbands and wives. Husbands are to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church, and wives are to respect their husbands. What hit me was that when a bride and groom make such promises on their wedding day, they make them not only to each other, but also to God. He is present. He is listening. He was the one who brought you together. There will be times when keeping the promise will be a challenge. Ask anyone who has been married longer than a year. Nonetheless, because you make this promise to God, He expects you to honor your word. This means, a husband is even called to love a disrespectful wife, and a wife is called to respect an unloving husband. There is no justification for a husband to say, ‘I will love my wife after she respects me,’ nor for a wife to say, ‘I will respect my husband after he loves me.’ ‘No,’ God says, ‘I do not care how he or she is behaving, you promised Me to love, cherish, honor and respect each other, and I expect you to honor your promise.’ Keep your promise to God, even when it is hard, and He will bless you with a marriage beyond anything you could imagine, and you won’t have to wait thirty-nine years to figure that out. God loves your wedding. Invite Him to your marriage too.”
Do you see why this is not just for Justin and Taylor? Whether you have been married one year, fifty years, or are hope to get married someday, Ephesians 5 still applies. When you stand before God and exchange vows and promises with your beloved, you are making those same promises to the Lord. In the midst of an argument, however – especially if we are the “wronged” party – we tend to feel entitled to withhold our love or respect until our spouse is rightly apologetic and repentant. That is not what we promised. Sure, on occasion, our spouse may not be living up to his or her promise, but that never excuses us from honoring ours. Especially, our promise to God. He always lives up to His word.
I encourage all my married brothers and sisters out there to remember the promise you made to God on your wedding day. Keep it. Honor it, and God will bless you more than you can imagine. For those who are not married, you can bless your children’s, family members, or friend’s marriages by sharing this with them. “I do,” is a promise made to God, not just to each other.
Remember to email your praises and petitions to email@example.com. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.