When my sweetheart and I began our journey together on a rainy, cold, November evening decades ago, we could not afford a honeymoon; we could barely afford a wedding. After we exchanged our vows at that quaint Baptist church on a crisp, Saturday evening, it was back to work for both of us on Monday morning. We have had many “honeymoons” since that fall weekend so many years ago, but they all pale in comparison to a unexpected trip planned for me by my sweetheart to celebrate our forty-fifth anniversary. No, we didn’t escape on a Caribbean cruise, travel to a magical foreign country, or crisscross our beautiful nation. Instead, we weaved our way through the familiar mountains of Western Pennsylvania, ending our journey in Lancaster County, smack dab in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
My heart was touched by the gorgeous bed and breakfast my husband had reserved especially for us. The rooms were laced with rose petals that had been scattered throughout our homey, country-themed suite. Chocolate candies (the pricey ones), fruit and cheese trays, sparkling cider, and pastries were awaiting us, along with a cozy fireplace, all carefully planned by a man who wanted to make his wife feel like a princess, a new bride. Part of his plans included reserved seats in an historically-restored train, and not just any seats, but seats in the fanciest of train cars. As I sat in that comfy car, overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape sprawling before me, I was reminded of one important fact: my husband has an in-depth knowledge of marriage…he understands that marriage is a verb.
Marriage is not a noun, it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day. That is one of the truest quotes that I have ever read; one I would love to pass on to every young couple within my realm of influence. An action verb is used to put a subject into motion, to denote activity. Whether that activity is making memories, forgiving mistakes, overlooking weaknesses, overcoming hurdles, encouraging, exhorting, comforting, or simply assuring a sixty-plus year old that she is still his princess, my husband understands well that marriage is something you do, not something you have. That knowledge is essential if you plan to have the type of marriage that lasts, survives the incredibly difficult times, endures the daily stresses, rejoices in the sweet moments…the marriage that mirrors the love of our Father.
“Husbands, LOVE your wives, even as Christ so LOVED the church, and GAVE himself for it; That he might SANCTIFY it and CLEANSE it with the washing of water by the word, That he might PRESENT it to himself…” Our Savior’s time on earth was action-packed, filled to the brim with serving others, teaching His companions, bringing hope to the hopeless, carving out a plan of salvation for a world He loves. What an awesome example He left for those of us who are blessed to be called His children!
So to all of you young couples out there, take a bit of advice from someone who has “marriaged” for forty-five years. Work at it…every day, every hour, every moment. Pour your heart and soul into that partner with whom you have been blessed. Love them unconditionally, forgive them endlessly, pray for them faithfully, devote yourself to them passionately. And every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to surprise them!
Mark 10:8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
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