Your marriage needs to get out more often
Dr. Tom Hufty
March 25, 2003
Kent Hughes, pastor of College Church in Wheaton Ill., tells a story of a Midwest couple years ago who were lying in bed during a storm when the funnel of a tornado suddenly lifted the roof off the house and sucked their bed away with them still in it. The wife began to cry, and the farmer called to her that it was no time to cry. She called back that she was so happy, she could not help it–it was the first time they had been out together in twenty years.
Recently I was invited to speak at a church banquet for couples. It was the first time this church had ever had one of these activities and what made it special was the men were cooking for the women. It was going to be a special night out for the ladies with their husbands. When the day came, it was snowing in northeast Missouri like crazy, there was a winter storm warning in effect for the area, plus there was ice on the roads with a mix of sleet and snow in the air. I thought for sure they would call it off. I called the pastor.
"Are we still having it?" I asked, hoping I’d have a night at home.
"Oh definitely, we’ve gone too far to turn back now," he replied.
"Great, I’m looking forward to it," I said, trying to sound eager to be there.
When I arrived on that cold, blustery night, I noticed the parking lot filling early. When I went inside, I couldn’t believe how many showed up. Their new building was practically full. What was it that made them brave the blizzard and come out on such a cold night? It wasn’t the food, although, I must admit it was good. It wasn’t the speaker, even though I wish I could say it was.
What was it?
In a word, love. They came to celebrate their love.
We had a great evening. We laughed a lot, cried a little and celebrated the entire evening with the best gift God has given us outside of Jesus — our mate. It was cold outside, but you would have never known it.
As the evening came to a close I had them stand and face each other to repeat their vows from their wedding day, I felt a little like Sun Yung Moon in a mass wedding, but I watched in awe as some repeated words they had said, 50 years before, and some only 50 days earlier. These couples were doing the right thing that night. They were reminding each other, after all we’ve been through, the joys and the sorrows, you’re still the one for me.
As I drove home that night my mind and heart was warmed by the thought of seeing those couples repeat their vows, however as I listened to the radio I heard the story of Clara Harris, a woman in Texas who was found guilty of killing her cheating husband by running over him in her Mercedes. I wondered if the Harris’ ever attended an event like the one I just experienced. I wondered, had they ever been reminded on a regular basis of the vows they made years earlier. What happens to make couples drift so far from each other? How can you go from the altar, to the courtroom so quickly? How can you make a promise and after a few years act as if you never said those words? The sad truth is that it happens all the time and too often inside the church. So what can we do?
One of the preventative measures you can take is to develop some practical marriage saving habits. For example, check in with each other everyday. Before I leave the house in the morning, my wife and I brief each other on our daily schedules. There are two reasons behind this practice. One, so we know where each other will be and what we’ll be doing that day, and secondly, so we’ll know how to pray for each other throughout the day. At the end of the day we debrief each other and share how the day unfolded.
Practical suggestion number two; date more. Get to your calendar before everything else and schedule regular dates. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. When my wife and I were in seminary with limited financial resources we would go to the airport, park in the 30 minute free parking lot, run inside and find a gate where a plane was arriving. You know what happens when planes arrive, people get off. And when people get off what do they do? They hug! So we would wait for the travelers to disembark and when they started hugging, so did we. Then when everyone left, we would go find another arriving flight. It was cheap, fun and as long as planes came in, there was a lot of hugging going on.
If you’ll simply add these two habits this month to your marriage growth plan, you’ll be amazed at how much closer and more secure your relationship will grow. You’ll be able to avoid a lot of the storms that life sends your way, in fact you’ll probably miss some, because you’ll be out on a date. (Tom Hufty is vice president for Collegiate Affairs at Hannibal-LaGrange College.)