Instead of giving my wife flowers or taking her out to a nice dinner for this the 34th anniversary of our marriage, I thought I’d give her a blog post. It’s easier, and less expensive. Not to mention that it will last longer. It’s this kind of thoughtfulness that has kept her putting up with me for all these years, or maybe it’s the mercy and grace born of the cross of Christ to which we dedicated our lives before we ever met. I’ll go with mercy and grace! Any successful marriage that stands the test of time needs plenty of both. When we were walking into church this morning, Sarah, that would be my bride, needed a reminder of how long we’ve been married (you lose track after a while), and when I said 34 years, she replied, “Holy crap!” I know! The swift passage of time is a cliché I’ve commented on many times on this blog, but no matter how many times you talk about it, it is still incomprehensible just how swift that passage really is for we mere mortals. Since this is a post about marriage and not time, I’ll stay focused on the former.

As I got into my mid-20s and was heading 2,500 miles from home to go to seminary in Philadelphia, I was pretty convinced I would probably never find the woman of my dreams. I was 26 after all, and going to a small religious school that most certainly would not provide me such a woman—except it did! Last year my daughter asked about some of the details of our courtship during that time, and I decided to write a little book about those details. I kept a journal back then, so I was able to relive a real-time chronicle of some of the most memorable moments in our lives, and try to tell the story the best I could (although I’m not sure who those people are on the cover). It’s a story only a sovereign all-powerful Savior God could pull off for two of his chosen children, and it was a blast! Although I was sure God was torturing me most of the time, and I wasn’t at all sure it would ever get to marriage, let alone 34 years of it!

Speaking of marriage, our premarital counselor at the seminary said something that highlighted the need for the cross to be at the center of our marriage, and it was the very first thing out of his mouth after we sat down in his office. He said the only sinner worse than the one you’re marrying is you! How rude! How true! The Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 13 that one of the traits of of biblical, agape love is that “it keeps no record of wrongs.” I can hear the proverbial “but” coming in response, but Paul gives no qualification. Not to mention that Paul says this kind of love is not easily angered, and that it is not self-seeking. That’s a lot to ask of two sinners! But because of Jesus, it is possible. Even more than possible, it is doable, as long as the cross and the gospel are the daily focus of our married lives.

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