Monday, January 9, 2012

Treasure these times! The first decade of marriage

4:42 p.m. Today's project is to encourage the young married couples and parents of little ones to treasure the early years of your marriage!

What brought this on was the births of two new babies this week, adding joy and blessing to the households of friends of mine. Another wonderful couple has announced a first pregnancy; one couple is celebrating their 2nd anniversary; and my own son Kriss and his wife Marisela are expecting their firstborn, a boy, in March.

Other young families have children who are just now beginning the marvelous adventure of elementary education, either at home, Christian schools, or neighborhood schools. What daily rejoicing God has planned and prepared for the first decade of marriage!  Proverbs 5:18 exhorts husbands,

Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your 
As a loving deer and a graceful
Let her breasts satisfy you at all
And always be enraptured with
  her love.

The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 is commended as highly as any wife can aspire to in verses11-12 and 28:

The heart of her husband safely
  trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

Her children rise up and call her
Her husband also, and he praises

As for the interaction of a God-fearing husband and wife, Ephesians 5:24-25, 33 says it all:

Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her...Nevertheless, let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

As I consider the first ten years of Steve's and my marriage, it was all about building--building our marital relationship as we got to know one another intimately; building our way of life, our home and our prospects, and most important of all, building our family from one child to five, a birth every or every other year, from 1982-1988, some planned, some unplanned, but each precious baby known and brought to us directly from the Lord how and when HE saw fit.

What fun, exhaustion, commotion, accountability and ministry, raising our young ones to know and love Jesus, and to accept Him as their Savior, which they did in their early elementary years. The kids were loved and encouraged, spanked and kissed, but one thing they were never allowed to do was disrupt Steve's and my "alone time!" No matter what, no matter where, no matter how cheap the lodgings, we would go away for a weekend at least once a year. In more prosperous times, we'd go to a married couples' retreat. Praise the Lord our parents and the kids' aunties were happy and willing to babysit. Some years, I had to leave quarts of my milk behind, but our marriage was and is our priority.

The marriage is the permanent basis of a Christian home; childrearing is a phase that will one day be over. (I know you brand-new parents and parents of tots find that hard to belive in the middle or end of a  long --but blessed--day)!

In our first decade, the thrill and excitement of God's way of "living married" made serious trials, struggles and disagreements fade as we learned to trust Jesus together. By praying together and alone, studying the Word for ourselves from men's and womens's studies; reading couples' and family devotionals, we stayed close to the Lord and one another. We both served our church in the ways each of us were called--Steve as an usher, me as a women's ministry teacher and leader. And we never forgot the home Bible study where we first met in 1980. We felt strongly called to honor the Acts 2:42-46 model of close fellowship by continuous home Bible study attendance in those early years, where we found friendship and encouragement from couples who were a few year's more experienced than we were!

We didn't know what our second decade would bring, but with Jesus as the center of our marriage, we knew His will would always be the best for us, and that we were in it for the long haul--" 'til death do us part."

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