On a January day 36 years ago my wife and I were settling into our schedules again after a delightful Christmastime honeymoon. At […]
On a January day 36 years ago my wife and I were settling into our schedules again after a delightful Christmastime honeymoon.
At the back of the seminary chapel a friend sang out his congratulations: “Hi, Bill. I hear you’re getting married!”
Blushing with the pride of a newly married man, I replied, “Well, actually, we already are married. We got married on December 13.”
There was a long pause as he searched my face, summoning the words that have never left me. “No, Bill,” he said quietly. “The wedding ceremony was on December 13. It’s going to take you several years to get married.”
Of all the things family and well-wishers said to us during those first amazing days of newly minted marriage, Rick’s words have been the most enduring. He knew from 10 years’ experience that the process of getting married is more protracted than the length of the ceremony or the pastor’s official pronouncement.
The welding of our lives together was going to unfold much like any other welding job: there was going to be both some heat and some friction if the bond was going to last. There was need for some melting and some bending if the two of us were going to build the permanent union that Scripture envisions and that God sublimely blesses.
My friend’s wise words have, in turn, been shared with dozens of other couples whom I have united in marriage during the past 36 years. I have watched the smiles of recognition from the married couples in the congregation when I repeated those words in wedding homilies—and even the smiles of acknowledgment from the couples in premarital counseling sessions. At bedrock in our lives we understand that nothing so essential to human experience as godly, permanent union can be accomplished by a simple declaration or a filing with the civil magistrate. It takes us time—in fact, years—to learn how to be the spouse the other needs, to learn the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. The One who blessed one marriage at Cana blesses all other Christian marriages with the promise that He can be our peace, our reconciliation, and our joy.
As you read this edition of the newly redesigned Adventist World, invite the Lord who created human marriage to reveal His will and His joy to you.