Sunday, August 16, 2009

Till Death Do Us Part...

The next section of Scripture I am preaching is Ephesians 5:22-33. Normally when I teach through this passage I am officiating a wedding--this time it will be to the congregation of Valley Baptist Church.

I have been particularly blessed at my church over the last two years in relation to marriage. I have been exposed to a sampling of "the Greatest Generation." I have had the honor of spending time with a couple that has been married for 72 years, two couples that have been married for 60+ years, along with a number of widows who would be amongst these ranks if their spouse was still alive. There are not words to express the impact these couples have had on me. I am thankful for them and their example.

First, I have no intention of adding pain or guilt to anyone who has gone through a divorce--even if this topic is painful. My prayer is that God would bring healing, restoration, to your life with where you are. My aim to to honor those who have blessed me, to encourage those who are married to persevere, and challenge the single to consider the commitments they will make one day if they get married.

Now, back to the couples who have been married 50+ years...

What is different about them? Why or how were their marriages able to survive so many years? What is different about this generation from my own concerning marriage? In spending time with all of these couples, I am learning that going the distance is more about commitment to each other over any other quality. Really this makes much sense. If you are in it till death--really till death--then one seems motivated to improve the relationship over walking away from it. Consequently, their happiness and love for one another seems to grow and mature through their perseverance in a way that my generation does not understand. As I see them, I am motivated to work on my own marriage and am looking forward to the years to come.

I have also been encouraged to see another couple...they have only been married for 35 years. I hope you catch my sarcasm as this is many years of marriage, but they are newly weds concerning the other couples in the church. I have been blessed in observing them. The husband has some major medical conditions and it is difficult on the family. In virtually every wedding this vow is made: "In sickness and in health..." Most people don't think of the difficult times that will come when they are standing at the altar...and many split when they do come. But I have been so blessed to observe this couple over the last year and a half or so as she cares for him. I have never heard a complaint from her, tears yes, but no complaints. I don't know how to put into words the feeling I feel when I see them together, I just know that is something special.

I don't really know where I was seeking to end up with this blog, but now that I am here, I think my aim is to simply thank the couples at Valley Baptist Church for honor marriage and persevering for the long run.

A few years back, on one of my trips to Kansas City, I was driving to the seminary about midnight local time and a song came on that had me in tears! I thought it does a great job in painting the beauty of a lifelong marriage. I hope it blesses you!

The Lyrics:

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Her dad said son
Have her home on time
And promise me you'll never leave her side
He took her to a show in town
And he was ten feet off the ground

He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

Ten more years and a waiting room
At half past one
And the doctor said come in and meet your son

His knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said he's got your eyes

And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night


He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night
And the nurse said Oh
Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out

When they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

Oh he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said this is not the end
And just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her home
He was walking her home

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

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