July 29, 2019 marks our 47th Wedding Anniversary. During those forty seven years we have purchased and sold three houses; purchased and sold at least twenty cars; moved over 2500 miles from Malone, New York to Phoenix, Arizona; driven the entire length of Rte. 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway; visited in access of 100 Lighthouses and probably eaten over 2000 pizzas! All of this … and not one single visit to a Marriage Counselor.
Now, I don’t want you to think that during those forty seven years we didn’t have any problems. There were many a-times that while we weren’t totally broke we were certainly badly bent; we have lost two moms, two dads, five brothers, three sisters-in-law … and a daughter. There were times I had to work three jobs and/or Chris was working two; times when the kids were not yet awake when I went to work and were to bed when I came home; times when the kids only had one parent home at a time because the other one was at work. But, through all of this … not one single visit to a Marriage Counselor.
Now, the fact that our Marriage has not only survived but has also thrived, is because OUR Marriage came with a “How To” Manual. Yours probably did, too, but you may not have realized it, or, at the very least, not referred to it. You see, right from the beginning, we asked KING JAMES to be our Marriage Counselor!
What I am referring to, of course, is THE HOLY BIBLE. There is such a wealth of knowledge therein where Marriages are concerned that I can’t possibly share it all with you in this Blog. I will, however, share some of the more important parts that have guided us for the last forty seven years, and even more!
Actually, my delving into the scriptures regarding a spouse began long before I got married! You see, when it came to choosing a life-mate I knew I needed to make it not only a romantic decision, but also a pragmatic one. As a result, I went to “The Manual” and discovered that God expects us to take the search for a Bride very serious:
[Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Having wanted to “obtain favour of the LORD” since I became a Christian at age ten, this re-enforced my belief that a pragmatic search for a little darlin’ was, in fact, a good idea. Fortunately, as I continued to read in Proverbs, I came upon a portion of scripture that gives God’s description of the Perfect Woman – – and I found it in
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Now, when you are sixteen years old and you are making a list of what you think the ideal woman for you should look like, words like virtuous and wisdom are not the first two that come to mind! But, the more that I read Proverbs 31 the more certain terms started to pop out at me. Below is a list of the things that particularly impressed me:
- Virtuous Woman
- Do Him Good
- Worketh Willingly with her Hands
- Stretcheth out her Hand to the Poor
- She Maketh Fine Linen
- Strength and Honour
- A Woman [that] Feareth the LORD, she shall be Praised
Armed with this list, I decided I had to get a working definition for each of these terms that I could be comfortable with. So, here’s what I came up with:
Virtuous – Having High, Moral Standards.
“Do Him Good” – I took this to mean that she would be at least equally concerned about me as she is herself.
Worketh Willingly with her Hands – Not lazy, and didn’t consider herself above the need to work.
Stretcheth out her Hand to the Poor – Would have a compassionate nature.
She Maketh Fine Linen – I didn’t expect her to actually be a weaver, but was hoping she would at least be a seamstress.
Would have Strength and Honour – I interpreted this to mean that she could stand up for herself, and was respected by others.
A Woman that Feareth the LORD, she shall be Praised – To me, this simply meant that she would be a Christian!
Well, there you have it! This was the Baedeker for my search for the Love of My Life; My Soulmate, the Ying to my Yang! And, believe it or not, I found a woman that filled EACH AND EVERY ONE of these dictates!
It took me a while, of course, to discover that Chris did, in fact, possess all of these
qualities. As a result, we dated for three years and were engaged for another year before we got married. As we prepared to “take the plunge,” if you would, God started to impress
upon me: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Now, a man could write an entire Blog, or maybe even a book!, on that verse alone! I will, however, give you the extremely short version of what I took from it: When it comes to Mom, Dad, and Chris … Chris ALWAYS has to come first. Nothing, and no one, should come between a man and his wife for they are one flesh!
Well, the big day came and I did, in fact, “leave my father and mother and was joined unto my wife.” Before that wonderful day, I returned to KING JAMES, specifically
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. This seemed pretty specific and self-explanatory … never do anything that would hurt her. Inasmuch as my wife is a most tender bud, I knew this meant in word nor deed. That didn’t seem too hard, but the next scripture gave a whole new meaning to marital sacrifice: Especially when God revealed the expanded (or Amplified, I suppose!) version.
In Ephesians 5:25 we are told:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
As I sat cogitating on that, I thought I had it figured it out: I have to be willing to die for Chris. Satisfied with my take on the verse, I started to gleefully move on when the following conversation took place:
God: Hold on thar, Young Feller! (He sometimes talks to me like that!)
Me: Yes, Sir?
God: I think you are approaching this verse a little too cavalier.
God: Here is what I meant when I had
Paul write this. When it came to My Bride, I was scoffed, slapped in the face, and spat upon; I had My robes ripped off and was lashed forty strokes minus one, ‘til My back was just ribbons of flesh, and then had those robes thrown back on over that raw flesh; I had a Crown of Thorns jammed upon My head and brow; I was forced to drag My own cross down the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha, where I was then nailed to that cross and suffered even more mocking; I was then stabbed in the side as I hung there, still suffering ridicule and shame, You see, Floyd, I did more than just die for My Bride.”
I sat there, stunned, as the reality of what He had shared with me sank in. Now, I have always been wise for my years (“Floyd”, in Gaelic, means “The Gray Haired One,” or “The Wise One”), and as I chewed on His words, trying to digest them, I realized that when you take what He had shared into consideration, what we watched on television, what color car we drove, and what breed of dog we chose was of absolutely NO consequence in the greater scheme of things. When others, usually other men, goad me with the comment, “Well, it’s easy to see who wears the pants at your house,” I just smile and pray that God will share His take on Eph. 5:25 with them, too.
The BIBLE, does, of course, have scriptures that wives need to consider as well. My wife, as can be imagined, is more of an expert on those verses than I am. However, there is one section that has been misconstrued and/or misunderstood for years – nay decades. In fact, it may have been misinterpreted for centuries, or even millennia! I am, of course, referring to
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Unfortunately, wayyyyyyyy too many men read “submit” to mean “be subservient to” or “give in to their every beck and call.” What these men have done is take this verse completely out of context, as you can see when you view the verses on either side of it.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The best way to explain Ephesians 5:21-23 is to share with you why Chris is the Perfect Wife: When I am not around she can handle anything and everything that comes her way. However, when I am around, she submits to my protection! That’s what the scriptures tell wives to submit to … not our will; not our commands or demands, but to our protection!!!
Well, there you have it … WHY WE ASKED KING JAMES TO BE OUR MARRIAGE COUNSELOR. You see, when you incorporate all of this into a couple’s married life, you have a pret-tty good chance of being able to celebrate your 47th Wedding Anniversary … and, hopefully, many, many more!