Posts belonging to Category Marriage

Married or Single For Better or For Worse

Here is an interesting take on marriage and singleness from John Piper:

I don’t know which holds out more joys and more hardships. There is no way to know ahead of time, it seems to me. We Christians don’t make our choices that way anyway. This would be clear if all singles not only heard the wedding vows, “For better or for worse,” but also heard the same words written over singleness: “For better or for worse.” Marriage may prove to be gloriously happy, or painfully disappointing. Singleness may prove to be gloriously satisfying or painfully disappointing. Only God knows which it will be for you.

I remember a “Mad About You” TV episode where the wife, Jaime, is particularly frustrated with her husband, Paul. She calls up her friend on the phone and asks her: “Fran, remind me again why I hate to be single.”

I would say marriage and singleness both present a combination of joys and sorrows in life. (See the article Riding the Rails of Life in Marriage earlier in this blog.) We often think of the marriage vows in terms of “for better or for worse.” I like Piper’s extension of that to serving God in the state of singleness as well.

Visiting Fathers

This is a must-read post from Joe Carter on the subject of visiting fathers. Dads, if you are thinking of leaving your family or even in the midst of divorce proceedings, you need to stop and read this article. Thank you, Joe, for sharing honestly from your experience and from your heart.

Here is a clip from the post, but I encourage you to visit Joe’s site and read the whole thing.

Over the past twelve years I’ve learned being a part-time dad is not enough. Our children always need more.

That is why I want to address a specific, narrow audience with the rest of this post. I want to address those fathers who are on the verge of leaving their families.

I want to start with a basic premise: When your first child is born, your life stops being about what you want and starts being about what they need. If you disagree, then you can stop reading now. The rest of what I say will only make sense to those who understand that this is the foundation of fatherhood . . . [Your children] need you at home. If you’re a man and aspire to being a dad, that is all you need to know . . .

I couldn’t ask for a more thoughtful, accommodating woman to be my former spouse. But as hard as we work to make it easier on our daughter, everything we can do is not enough. At the end of the day, my child lives in a house where one of her parents is missing. Divorce doesn’t just end a marriage, it ends a family.

Riding the Rails of Life in Marriage

We tend to think of life as having its peaks and valleys. But Marshall Shelley proposes a different view in this article from Marriage Partnership. Shelley writes:

Many of us, in marriage, long for mountaintop moments. Those times of shared success, satisfaction, and celebration. Times when the nail-biting drive of daily life is behind us for a while and forgotten, and all we can think about is the happiness of the moment . . .

It’s tempting to think of married life as a continual climb, looking for the next mountaintop. We may tell ourselves that most of life is lived in the valleys, but we hope we’re on the road to another mountaintop experience . . .

But what if peaks and valleys aren’t the best way to describe your married life? What if God didn’t intend us just to endure down times so we could enjoy an occasional up?

So if life is not just a series of peaks and valleys, what is a better way to describe life and marriage? Shelley shares the following about Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

In a single year, his book reached the top of the best-seller lists and his wife was diagnosed with cancer. A mountaintop? A deep valley? Or something else?

“This past year has been the greatest year of my life,” wrote Rick, “but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys—you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth.

“I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life . . .

“No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.”

How about you? Are you looking for that next mountaintop in life, or are you learning to ride the twin rails of joy and adversity?

Perhaps Solomon said it best in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

Friday Morning Cracker Barrel

For years now my wife, Rose, and I have gone to Cracker Barrel on Friday mornings for breakfast together. This is a tradition that we started back in Florida and have continued since our move to Massachusetts two years ago. We call it our Friday morning Cracker Barrel time. We have had to move it around to different days of the week this past year because Rose has been teaching a class on Friday mornings, but whatever day of the week we go, it is still Friday morning Cracker Barrel to us.

Rose’s class did not meet today, so we actually got to do Friday morning Cracker Barrel on a Friday. It was nice. This is our special time just for us. When we first started doing this we even made a rule, no talking about the kids, but we soon found that this was a good time just to talk about all of life. So we talk about the week, the kids, memories and dreams, whatever comes up. Mostly we just talk.

I love Friday morning Cracker Barrel. Over the years Rose and I have built up a rich storehouse of memories from our Friday morning breakfasts together. We have laughed, we have shared, we have sorted out many problems along the way, and hopefully pre-empted many others. It is one of my favorite times of the whole week.

Oh yes, and the food is good too. Rose gets her cup of coffee, and I get my cup of hot tea. I usually order Uncle Herschel’s breakfast or the Sunrise Sampler, but I was extra hungry today and went for the Country Boy – three eggs over medium, fried apples, hash brown casserole, two English muffins with blackberry jam, and a big old slab of steak cooked medium-well. Hmmmm-mmmm, now that’s breakfast! (I know, now I need to buy some carbon offsets for my meat – see Climate change or diet change? in News and Notes 3/8/2007.)

Living with an Imperfect Spouse

Gary Thomas has a helpful article over at Marriage Partnership on living with an imperfect spouse. Gary writes:

“Even if I’ve never met you, I know one thing is true about you: you’re married to an imperfect mate. And here’s the spiritual reality that flows from this difficult truth: even though our mate disappoints us and hurts us, the Bible still calls us to respect and appreciate our imperfect spouse. This is true whether you’re a husband (1 Peter 3:7) or a wife (Ephesians 5:33) . . . How can we honestly and sincerely respect and appreciate someone who is so imperfect?”

Gary offers the following seven suggestions. You can read the whole article here for a more in-depth explanation of each suggestion.

  1. Accept the reality of human relationships.
  2. Accept the reality of human marriage.
  3. Accept the reality of your own sin.
  4. Accept the call to praiseworthy thinking.
  5. Accept the biblical call to respect.
  6. Form your heart through prayer.
  7. Ask God to change you.

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, because there are no perfect people. If you are going through a difficult time in your marriage right now, I hope this article is an encouragement to you. Knowing my own imperfections, I need to pass this article on for my wife to read. She is the one who has to live with me after all!