Janet has been traveling this week, visiting her folks in Virginia, and today she returned home. I had been counting down the hours until she landed, and rather than circling the airport to pick her up outside baggage, I parked the car and went in to greet her as she entered the terminal from Gate B8. And that old, familiar feeling of anticipation and excitement grew within me.
You see, we both hate it when we are apart. That may seem strange to some of you, especially younger folks whose marriages have not withstood the test of time. But those of you who know us realize that I travel a fair amount and Janet usually stays home. I would much rather have her travel with me, but she makes the point, and I agree, that she has a life here; children, grandchildren, friends – and if she went with me all the time, she would feel disconnected from the stable parts of her life in Indy.
And when I travel, even though I miss her, I am usually pretty busy working. But when she travels, and I stay behind, it is a whole different story. I don’t eat much, I schedule as many meetings as I can, I hate to be in the house alone and I can’t wait for her to come home. To top it all off, I am surrounded by all the things that we have acquired throughout 37 years of marriage, and the comfort of knowing just about everything there is to know about this person I have known since we were 5. That’s right – I said 5. That means that 53 of my 58 years of life I have known Janet – and we have the kind of marriage that I would wish for everyone. Oh sure, on occasion, we may have our minor disagreements, but we both realize that what we have is very special, ordained by God and worth protecting at all costs.
One of the things in today’s world that saddens me greatly is the complacent attitude that people have about marriage. As an ordained member of the clergy, I get numerous calls from couples who wish to speak with me about getting married. It is amazing to me how many of them dismiss the sanctity of the institution. The latest thing I hear is that they are just entering into a “starter” marriage – like a starter house; and it is not the marriage they expect to end up in, any more than they intend to live in their first home for the rest of their lives. Of course, I refuse to conduct these ceremonies, but for sure, there is some judge, or other authority, who will be more than pleased to “join them” in marriage. That’s because society has changed the expectations of our commitment to one another. There is limited accountability for the choices we make, and in this no-fault, instant gratification world, we are not so careful about making poor choices – we can always fix them later.
But that is not what God intended for us. He wanted us to have loving, committed partners. In fact, in Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a partner suitable for him.” This is the first time in Scripture that God pronounces something “not good”. The story of Eve follows – and then we are told in Gen. 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be united to his wife; and they shall become ONE flesh.” That’s right – one! No longer two.
So my encouragement today is to love each other well and celebrate your marriage – it doesn’t have to be your anniversary to take an extra moment and let your spouse know how much you care. If you are single, and wish to be married, pray that God will place your perfect partner in your life. God honors prayer. And stay committed – none of this “starter marriage” stuff! So, that’s the message today – and remember, it takes work to have a great marriage. Well, time to go,