One of the greatest blessings in my life has been my nearly fifty years of marriage to my wife Pam. Our marriage has been a blessing to me as well as to others. We don't always agree but we also rarely have arguments that we can't resolve. Over the years, people have asked me what the secret is to having a happy marriage and I can't really answer that question, except to say that Jesus has helped us. As I consider the kinds of things that help a marriage work, this short and familiar passage comes to mind, so let's listen to it:
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers." (Psalm 1:1)
Wait...what? You might be wondering how this verse applies to marriage. Well, it's popular in our day to scoff at marriage and a lasting, sacrificial love. Comedians do it all the time. Celebrities of every kind, whether in public life or the entertainment business, hop from marriage to marriage and yet somehow, people admire them and take their advice about life! I recently saw a cartoon in which an elderly couple is sitting on a park bench during a heavy rain, and both are scowling. It's obvious that they've had some kind of argument. The angry husband is holding an umbrella over his angry wife's head so that she won't get wet. Now that, to me, demonstrates commitment and love. One of the things that helps marriages succeed is spending time with other couples who value committed marriage. In my experience, couples who have good marriages spend time with other couples who value strong marriages, and value what God says about it. These kind of couples are willing to make sacrifices to remain together and are loyal to their partners. They don't say negative things about their spouses to other people; instead, they defend them. They help and serve each other. And if they disagree, they are willing to back down, even when they think they're right.
Can you do that? Yes, you can! You can do it if you're willing to let the Holy Spirit help you. God cares about our relationships, particularly our marriages, and He wants to help us succeed...and that's such very Good News!