A few weeks ago I saw an article entitled, "Five Things You Must Do to Have a Happy Marriage." I didn't read the article. Why? Because I already have a happy marriage! In fact, that day happened to be our 49th wedding anniversary, when my wife Pam and I promised each other, in the Presence of God, to love each other faithfully in every circumstance for the rest of our lives. We have a good marriage; I might even say we have a gloriously happy marriage. Today, let's listen to two passages of scripture. When taken together, they have been so helpful to Pam and I as we have navigated through life together:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Cor. 13:4-7 New Living Translation)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8 New International Version)
We often hear today's first passage read at weddings. Although it's not written in the context of marriage, it addresses the subject of love and married love, like all other love, must be nurtured and cared for. Paul writes that love is patient and kind. Pam has certainly had to be patient with me and she's been kind to me throughout our lives. Lovers cannot expect their love to endure if they are jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Lovers must learn not to demand their own way, even if they think they are right. If you want to be happy in marriage, don't keep score of things the other person has done wrong. Pam and I never give up; we never lose faith, we always have hope and we endure difficult times together. In the second passage, Peter summarizes: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." As Ruth Bell Graham once said, "A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." Forgiveness matters. Hope matters. Patience matters. Kindness matters. For the past 49 years, Pam and I have tried to live out our lives together with Jesus at the center.
The Presence of Jesus not only makes enduring love possible, but makes everything better...and that's such Good News!