The Scriptures are clear about the importance of a marriage that is a life-long, loving relationship with one man and one woman. However, in the hustle of life, very few of us pause to identify the benefits of a long-haul marriage. To help illustrate the benefits, read the following story.
Les and Leslie Parrott tell the story of Isidor and Ida Strauss, an immigrant couple who worked hard and saved their money to sail to the “New World,” the United States of America. When they arrived, they, like so many immigrants, used their hard-work ethic to carve out a living and establish a heritage for their family. Eventually, they built and operated a little dry goods merchandise store in downtown New York City. They called it Macy’s.
They prospered and worked together for decades. They eventually gained the opportunity to take a vacation back to Europe. On their return trip home to New York, they were on the new luxury liner called the Titanic. You know what happened on that fateful day April 15, 1912.
As people were hysterically running about the deck in search of safety, it was reported that Isidor and Ida calmly walked together to the lifeboat being filled with women and children. As Ida was climbing into the boat, her only hope for rescue, she paused, turned around and said to Isidor, “Where you go, I go.”
The crew tried to convince her otherwise but she wouldn’t hear of it. One crew member told Isidor that no one would mind if an elderly gentleman climbed in the life boat. In the same stubborn, determined demeanor as his wife, Isidor said, “I will not go before the other men.” The issue was settled.
They had determined she would not go without him and he would not go without the other men being accommodated. So, she took his arm and they strolled down the deck to a nearby set of deck chairs, sat down together and waited for the inevitable waters of the deep to complete their lives. But the forces of nature would not dampen the legacy of their love for each other. (Adapted, “When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages,” Les and Leslie Parrott, 2001, p. 182)
Many people start out their marriages with a sense of indestructibleness, but there are forces that constantly pull at a couple. A marriage can still be in its infancy when a couple discovers there are plenty of “icebergs” to wreck their relation“ship.”
What is it that keeps us together?
Immediately, hands go into the air … “Love is what keeps people together.” True, but what is it about love that keeps a couple together on the deck of life even when troubles come our way? The answer is not physical, even though physical intimacy is part of the equation. It is not money, even though a good marriage is an asset builder.
An intimate relationship exposes our lives to the benefits of vulnerability, forgiveness, satisfaction, promises kept and a host of other positive qualities. A marriage relationship is like sandpaper that smooths off the edginess of our humanness.
Periodically, a couple needs to evaluate their relationship based on Scriptural insights, honesty and trust values. If the world’s pressures have pulled our attention away from our spouses, it may be time to reassess behaviors and activities. Renew or make some choices that gain great benefits through your relationship.
Ask questions like:
• Am I physically and emotionally at my best with my spouse, or are my smart phone and FaceBook crashing my opportunity to enter the world of my spouse?
• Are we, as a couple, a picture of Christ’s love for His church and the church’s love for her Bridegroom? What’s the testimony of our marriage?
• In a fresh way, am I learning ways to touch the heart of my spouse? Have I figured out my spouse’s language that communicates I love her/him?
• Do I bless our children and/or grandchildren by how we demonstrate love for one another?
Walking through questions like these is a healthy exercise that generates healthy, life-long benefits for a growing relationship. There are more resources than ever before in Christian history to help couples grow in marriage intimacy.
For additional information, call the Baptist Building and ask for Joe Ulveling to send you a free copy of his book, “Hooked for Life: Catching and Keeping Your Spouse for a Lifetime.” The phone number is 573.636.0400. Joe’s email address is julveling@MoBaptist.org.