Thursday, February 06, 2014

CP 236 Let the marriage begin...



CP 236 Let the marriage begin…
Thinking about marriage 8.
Walter Wangerin, Jr. is a much loved and read writer of practical, liberating ‘Jesus the Christ’ truth. Among his writings is a book entitled, “As for Me and My House”. (Nelson 1990). (The title is taken from Joshua’s declaration to Israel, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 (This text always resonates with me because these words were inscribed over the doorway of the Lutheran farmer with whom my father worked as a POW during WW2.) The subtitle of the book is Crafting your marriage to last. Wangerin begins by asking a straightforward question: When does a marriage begin? Let’s consider his answer…
When does marriage begin?
  1. Not when two people fall in love with one another…
  2. Neither does marriage begin when two people first “make love” to one another…
  3. Surely, not at the engagement…
  4. Nor… does marriage begin when two people set up housekeeping together – “move in” together…
  5. Not… “made in heaven” even before the couple met and smiled on one another…
When then? When after all, does a marriage begin?
Can we be precise about a thing so spiritual? Can we be specific about a relationship so complicated that much of it happens unconsciously?
Can we fix that moment and say, “There! There is the clear beginning of this marriage”? Yes we can – because that moment is meant to be historical (as well as spiritual) and is to be remembered for the rest of the couple’s lives; because it must be accomplished consciously, in full knowledge of the implications that follow upon it; and because its very purpose is to change the relationship from one of accidental growth to one of careful conviction and responsible stability and trustworthy promises.
Listen: marriage begins when two people make the clear, unqualified promise to be faithful, each to the other, until the end of their days. That spoken promise makes the difference. (Italics mine) A new relationship is initiated. Marriage begins when each vows to commit herself, himself unto the other and to no other human in this world. I promise you my faithfulness until death parts us. That vow, once spoken, once heard, permits a new, enduring trust: each may trust the vow of the other one. And that vow forms the foundation of the relationship to be built upon it hereafter.
Fred’s extra comment: That is such good, insightful and wise stuff. Next week I’ll add the next two paragraphs which follow. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Have a blessed week.
Fred
Before I go, savour this gem from Corrie ten Boom. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”

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