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Friday, 4 September 2015

Forty-five years - and still going strong!

This evening, my wife and I paid our first visit to the local Pizzeria, here in Gardonne.  The occasion was the celebration of our forty-fifth wedding anniversary, and we are looking forward, as the Rapture is delayed, to many more.

Sadly, we are part of a relatively small number of our own generation to have reached such a milestone.  Marriage has been constantly downgraded over the past thirty years - at least in the UK.  It saddens me that so many, today, are unwilling to enter the bond of marriage; and that so many who have done so are now on their second (or even third!) spouse.  It is even more sad that so many of those people would claim to be disciples of Jesus, and that too many (in my, I believe Biblically-based, opinion) are even in positions of leadership, and pastoral responsibility, within the Body of Christ.  If I find all of that to be so sad, I wonder how Father God views it!

Marriage - and I refer only to the God-ordained union of a man and a woman - is an honourable estate.  It was given, I used to say in the Christian marriage service that I conducted, for the benefit of society which can be strong only where the marriage bond is held in honour.  It was given for the mutual help of the two persons involved.  It was given in order that children, who are a gift from God, should be raised in a stable environment, with a role model of each gender.

Marriage ought not to be, I believe, a temporary state until we find out if we are suited to one another.  That is the purpose of courtship and engagement.  It should not be entered into solely on the basis of a physical attraction - although such a physical attraction will be there.

When it comes to divorce, and remarriage, I do not even need to turn to my Bible - with different interpretations of certain passages being offered.  I simply need to go back those 45 years to the day of my marriage.  As my then fiancée and I stood before our minister, we each promised, God helping us, to be faithful to one another for as long as God gave us life.  We entered into a covenant relationship - with each other, and with Almighty God.  He, and He alone, may break that relationship.

Now, please don't misunderstand me.  I am not suggesting that our married life has been a constant 'bed of roses'.  We have had our ups and downs.  We have had our differences of opinion.  But our common love for the Lord has held us together better than Superglue!

Does this mean that disciples of Jesus who are remarried divorcees, or those who are living together without the commitment that marriage brings, are grieving Father God?   Unless they repent, and deal with the situation, I believe that this is so.  It is certainly, I am convinced, a matter for which they will have to answer when they stand before the Judgment Seat of the Christ.

Meanwhile, I am so glad that the Lord gave me the woman He did give me to be my wife; my companion; my lover; the mother of my children; my constant support and encouragement; and so much more besides.  Every day, I thank Him for her and, as already stated, I look forward, as the Rapture is delayed, to many more years with her - loving one another; caring for one another; sharing with one another; being with one another; and serving Him, both as individuals and as a couple, for as long as He gives us strength and opportunity.

If you are married to your first spouse, regardless of the current length of your marriage, I trust that you are able to say the same!

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