Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
1 Chronicles 22:13
“Marriage is a most remarkable and courageous human act,” says Ernest Boyer in A Way in the World (HarperSanFrancisco, 1984). “It’s the promise of two human beings to share life together on all levels, physical, economic, and spiritual. It’s a promise made despite the certainty of death, the certainty of change, and the uncertainty of everything else. There is nothing else we might choose to do that is quite like this act, nothing so foolish or so profound.”
Why do so many of us enter into this “foolish and profound” commitment when we realize that it is such a difficult thing to unify two separate individuals? Why do we assume we will have success when we know that others fail?
Before his death, David shared his vision for building a temple for the Lord with his son Solomon, to whom God had entrusted this sacred task. David had spent countless hours collecting and preparing all of the materials his son would need to build a house worthy of the Lord. Then David told Solomon that if he was careful to observe the laws of the Lord, he would have success.
Likewise we, too, need to take great care in preparing for the construction of a marriage. Marriage is like a temple—a magnificent living, breathing house for the Lord. When we stand at the altar exchanging wedding vows, we’re essentially agreeing to erect a temple in which to honor God. By following God’s plan for marriage—loving, honoring, and remaining faithful to each other—we will have success in honoring him. When we’re strong and courageous, we’ll be able to overcome obstacles and persevere.
Sounds easy. But it’s not.
When Dan and I were preparing to get married, we spent an entire year budgeting, envisioning, and getting quotes on bands, caterers, cakes and invitations—planning all of the elements that go into making a wedding day a success. Soon after we walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs., we realized we would need to apply that same kind of care to building our relationship for a lifetime, not just planning for a day.
Marriages often include struggles. Changes in career aspirations, guilty feelings over past mistakes, conflicts in other relationships—these and a myriad of other situations present many opportunities to be either the afflicted or the comforter within marriage. In these periods the one doing the supporting may begin to think, “I am not being helped by this person, only held back.” But because of that foolish, extraordinary vow of marriage, he or she keeps going.
Through the ordinary pains and sharing of day-to-day life, marital love matures into a love that models God’s own love for us. It is in this temple we call marriage that God profoundly manifests himself, giving us the tools we need to be successful as husband and wife.
Marian V. Liautaud