I Do.

Two of the smallest words in the English language.  Two words for one of the biggest moments of our lives.  Two words that makes liars out of many Americans, yea evangelicals, in my generation.  Last night was the last class period of our Marriage Enrichment class, and for our final, my wife and I joined other couples in our class to renew our wedding vows.  I know it sounds cheesy, but it was less than five years ago when I said those two words to my wife for the first time, and those words are never more heavy upon my heart.  I believe God intended those little words to be heavy, and the fact that our culture today has treated them so lightly is an indictment against the God-ordained institution that serves as the fabric of our society.  Such heaviness can only be managed by a joyous commitment of unconditional love where I find great pleasure and delight in satisfying my wife and bringing glory to God.  Whether I realize it or not, there are many things that I say “I Don’t” to, and with deep regret, my marriage has at times been one of them.  How often has ministry or friends or schoolwork or other personal agendas (including blogs!) taken precedent over our spouses?!  Last night was good because it was heavier than usual, and I felt the weight of God’s love which I don’t deserve and the gift he has given me in my beautiful bride.  I know that last night was considered a “final exam” for my class, but I know The Day will come when those little words will be finally judged – and that is a final, I pray by God’s grace, I do not fail.

It’s amazing that the big moments of life require so few words, so little words at that.  If you are married, have you felt the weight of the covenant of marriage which you entered when you said, “I Do”?  Man, I am feeling it now, and I hope God never lets me fail to see the treasure I have been given.  Brothers and sisters, I am reminded to pray for one another, for our marriages and our families.  We will all give an account one day for every idle and careless word that proceeds out of our mouths (Matt. 12:36-37).  May the smallest words not be among them.

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10 Comments on “I Do.”

  1. connie Says:

    A much needed reminder for all of us!

  2. ChrisB Says:

    Two words that makes liars out of many Americans
    My wife’s parents got divorced not too long ago. Though there were probably many factors, I am convinced that the biggest single factor was the modern emphasis on “happiness.”

    I mentioned their divorce — because she “wasn’t happy” — to a coworker at the time, and her response was, “Good for her!” Happiness at all costs.

    There are days when the only that is going to keep us married is a committment to “til death do us part.”

  3. Excellent post, Timmy. Of course, my favorite point is, “Such heaviness can only be managed by a joyous commitment of unconditional love where I find great pleasure and delight in satisfying my wife and bringing glory to God.” We would have more durable, Christ-exalting marriages if we stopped worshiping our spouses, and loved them out of the overflow of our joy in God.

  4. I concur. One story that continues to ring loud in my head is the story that many have heard. It’s that of Robert McQuilken, former president of Columbia Bible College.

    Here it is in Roberts own words – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6pX1phIqug&eurl=

    Text of his resignation letter:
    “My dear wife, Muriel, has been in failing mental health for about eight years. So far I have been able to carry both her ever-growing needs and my leadership responsibilities at Columbia Bible College. But recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just “discontent.” She is filled with fear–even terror–that she has lost me and always goes in search of me when I leave home. It is clear to me that she needs me now full-time. The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago, when I promised to care for Muriel “in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” So as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more; I love Muriel. She is a delight to me, her warm love, occasional flashes of that wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. I do not have to care for her. I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.”

    I think of this each time I feel the urge to get upset at something my wife asked me to do, something she said, or something she did. We as husbands are to love our wife as Christ loved the Church. Although there is no way I can achieve that same level of love, I hopefully can come close through the strength of Christ.

  5. One side note, our associate pastor, Dr. Gary Chapman gave us a message this past Sunday night on “The desire to follow your emotions”. Very good message (obviously). He’ll probably write a book on it. Anyway, he used the life of Joseph as the text. The statement he said that pretty much summed up the whole message was “Your emotions shouldn’t be driving the car. They are more like the dummy lights, telling you the status of the car. They’ll tell you if something is wrong or needs to be looked at, or if everything is ok.” Who’s in your drivers seat? Unlike what society teaches us, we are not servants to our emotions.

    The reason I bring this up is because a big cause of conflict within a relationship is emotions. God is more interested in our attitudes and actions.

    I hope you find this encouraging….

  6. Thanks, guys (and gals) for your encouraging comments. Mark, I have heard about the story of Robert McQuilken, and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention. What a great testament to having priorties straight and a commitment to follow through in the midst of difficult situations.

    When I was a youth, our youth minister left the ministry, leaving us without someone to teach us. We begged for someone to help us, you know, the cool, fun-going young folk and all. None of them stepped in – that is, until a 65 year old man by the name of Mr. Eudy began investing in us. While his ministry was preaching in prisons (which he did for 30 years), his primary ministry in life was caring for his wife who had been bed-ridden since 1979. Everyday, Mr. Eudy bathed her. clothed her, fed her, took care of the kids, and led their family. I will never forget that. Mr. Eudy died shortly after I left for college while doing what he had been doing for years–preaching in the prisons.

  7. chriswest Says:

    I got engaged on Saturday and I really appreciate this post. God keeps inspiring individuals to write on this topic. Thanks.

  8. Well, a hearty “Congrats!” to you and your fiance. May the Lord richly bless the two of you as you journey together to covenant union for a lifetime.

  9. Timothy Says:

    >” God-ordained institution”

    So, if mariage is a God-ordained institution and Jesus is, in fact, God, then marriage is a Jesus-ordained institution. Why is marriage not an ordinance in Reformation churches, ther than Luther said so? It seems that much of the divorce and same sex marriage issues are the result of the church abondoning its historical and bibical claims to the ordinance and giving the church’s authority over to civil secular governmnt. Probably a good topic for a future post.

  10. Timothy,

    Government is a God-ordained institution. However, it isn’t a church ordinance. Could marriage be similar? In other words, there was marriage before there was a church. Marriage seems to be a part of “this present evil age” rather than the “age to come.” Of course, marriage is an earthly shadow of a heavenly reality. But marriage, like human government, will end with the heavenly Kingdom. You ask an interesting question that I think does deserve further thought.

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