Monday, September 24, 2012

The Seasons of Marriage

Dear Friends,

I was browsing through one of the books I wrote at least twenty-five years ago.  The book was about growing older—not growing old, but growing older.  There is a difference!  Under a lovely picture of a sunset I had written, “God paints His choicest colors in His latest sunsets.”  I thought about that.  He wants to use His renewing paintbrush not only in your life, but also in your marriage.  He wants you to discover love in its entire grand dimensions, the longer you live and the longer you are married.

God has certainly painted His choicest colors in our marriage.  The reason?  We have tried—imperfectly, but we’ve tried anyway—to follow His rules of love.  We have sought to submit our human love for each other to the rule of agape.  We have tried to be obedient to God’s rules of marriage.  We have found all the power and all the love we need for each other in Him!

Once Stuart and I were busy speaking at different venues in the course of ministry.  He was in the South trying to get to California and I was in Milwaukee trying to get to Boston.  We both ended up with canceled planes and a five-hour layover in Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  Neither of us knew this, of course.  We sat down and got out our work to pass the time.  It was one of those days that has been a part of our lives for over forty years in ministry.  We were apart from each other once again.

After I had worked on a manuscript for a good thirty minutes, I started to think about Stuart.  I wish he were here with me, I thought.  I got out my cell phone and thought I would try to reach him.  As the phone rang, he got up opposite of me.  I screamed out, “Oh, it’s you!”  We laughed and laughed, and he came up and gave me a big kiss!

This really set people looking as we had both sat there for at least a half an hour!  Seeing these apparent strangers kissing and laughing got their attention.  How good of God to work out this wonderful serendipity for us!  We spent a wonderful afternoon together and I can’t tell you how my heart leapt just to see “my man” there so unexpectedly!  Truly, when Christ governs your life and your marriage, it gets better and better as time goes on.    
Where are you on your life’s cycle?  Have you just gotten married?  Has God begun to paint your marriage on His canvas?  Then you are living in springtime.  Have you been on the way a little while?  Have you been blessed with a couple of kids, a good job, and a nice place to live?  Then summer is upon you.  Or maybe you are in what seems like autumn—the leaves have begun to turn brown, and an ominous wind has arisen.  Or perhaps you are living in full-blown winter, and everything is frozen, miserable, and cold.

To those of you living in springtime, be alert!  Know that you have an enemy of your souls and an enemy of your marriage.  It is not for nothing Jesus called Satan “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).  Satan wants to kill your marriage.  Make sure that you build into your relationship a spiritual dimension and make it the most important aspect of your lives.  Is Jesus the Master of your marriage?  If not, make Him so by inviting Him to be in control.

If you are in summer mode, revisit the things that really matter but may be neglected.  Reexamine your values and your lifestyle, and see if they are compatible with your profession of Christianity.  Maybe plan to have a spiritual or marital checkup.  Read a good marriage enrichment book together.  Go to a couple’s conference, or see a counselor to help you discern any warning signs.

If you are in the autumn of a relationship, take action!  Don’t wait.  Turn around and run to the waiting arms of God.  Do your part in saying your “sorrys” to Him, and then say them to your spouse.  Own your part and remember that you are responsible only for your response and reactions, not anyone else’s.  Agape doesn’t wait for the other person to make the first move.  Agape runs to make amends.  Don’t give up, for the best is yet to come.

God would save us from winter—from the frost and cold and misery.  He has better things in mind.  All of us know about the miracles of the springtime.  We expect it, don’t we?  Then expect the miracle of resurrection in the winter of your marriage.  God is a God of miracles.    


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine  

1 comment:

  1. Jill,
    I love your airport serendipity. That is such a God-thing to surprise you there. The Lord continually shows us that we need each other in marriage, even when we're going in opposite directions!