Two for Twenty!
The simplest way to say it is that twenty years ago today my wife and I exchanged wedding vows in a small Baptist church in Idlewild, MI. And for these past twenty years God has been good and faithful in providing all we need to live and love together.
Recently someone asked me if I could share with him a couple of principles that have proved most beneficial in marriage these past twenty years. Without a doubt, what growth and joy Adriane and I have been pleased to experience is due to more than just two principles. To boil it down to such a number would undoubtedly be an oversimplification. Nevertheless, I took the challenge wanting not only to encourage my friend, but also to remind myself of those things that have been of significance as Adriane and I have grown in love and grace together. Therefore, if I had to boil it down to two:
2. The Golden Rule. In Mt. 7:12 our Lord said “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This has become known as the Golden Rule. We try to impress it upon our kids at a young age. However, it may be the most important principle married couples could ever live by. I find it particularly important in the area of forgiveness. If you are married, sooner or later (and more sooner than later), you will need to either forgive, be forgiven, or both. No marriage will thrive and be happy without it. Therefore it is important that you be willing to forgive as you desire to be forgiven. Over the years, we have learned this again and again. He who forgives today, will need to be forgiven tomorrow. The more freely you give forgiveness, the more freely it will be given to you. And the happier the two of you will be in the grace and forgiveness of Christ.
Wouldn’t be awesome if a happy and healthy marriage could be boiled down to only two principles? Unfortunately, it can’t. Nevertheless while a happy marriage may be more than these, it is not less than these. These past twenty years have been happy because my beloved wife has not for a day neglected to live out these two principles before me and God. I love her today more than I ever have. And while I am not always the best at showing it, her devotion to me makes me all the more pleased to try even harder for the next twenty years.
Not only has God supplied us with all we need to love him, but for these past twenty years he has graciously given us all we need to love each other. And while I only counted to two, one of my favorite country songs actually counts to four. In the song Four Walls, my man Randy Travis sums it up well when he sings:
We’ve got everything that we need, each morning we wake up – Four walls…Three words…Two hearts…One love