It really takes some thinking when you know your words will be immortalized perhaps for many decades of their lives together. Wisdom on a subject like this has to be dug for, and quite ironically these four points came to me as I was digging in the garden today planting some more flowers (hoping that we would get some summer this year so they can grow!)
Most wisdom comes to us thought trial and error and so it is true with these words of mine. Much of what I have to say has come from my own struggles and dysfunction in these areas. Only in crying out to God have I found any hope of resolution in these areas (and I'm still working on some of them)
I thought I'd include them for your thinking pleasure today.
Dear Chris and Sarah,
What a wonderful day this is, June 21st, 2008. Whatever the future holds for you, this date will go down in history as the moment of the biggest commitment of your life.
Chris, your Mom and Dad have asked for words of wisdom for you and I have summarized four points for your careful consideration.
The first one is commitment. I'm sure you have heard lots about commitment as you have contemplated marriage but the word commitment needs to be more clearly defined as a commitment to communicate. It would be naive to assume that you will never act in the flesh. Life is going to get complicated.
You will tend to go in opposite directions and you will grow apart over time. It is the natural law of the sin nature and of marriage in general to grow apart as life gets busy and time goes by. When offenses occur, and they will, the natural tendency is to withdraw, and resent. The difference to a successful marriage and a subsistence marriage is that one major factor. The commitment to stay married, though thick and thin but more specifically, the commitment to stay in communication and resist resentment and isolationism.This is when the commitment to communicate will produce opportunities for some very “intense
moments of fellowship” but the rewards will be a stronger marriage and a deeper understanding of each other and the oneness that you will eventually achieve in your marriage.
The greatest gift you can give each other and any future children
is a strong marriage, not just a subsistence marriage.
The second thought I had is, be together. Be together as a family now and after you have children, should you be so blessed. Do everything together. Build together a house or a plan garden or a ministry or a family, but do it together. Whatever it is, be one in direction and be and live together. Knowing that the natural, tendency is
to grow apart, this will be a safeguard and an antidote to destructive forces in your lives together.
This, of course, does not mean that either of you cannot never do anything alone, baby showers, or golfing with the guys, etc, but the oneness of direction should be found in your everyday life. Nor does it mean that each of you will not be doing different tasks that make up the overall goal, but the overall focus is on working together, in the same direction for the common purpose.
Make your home the centrality of all family life. This takes intentional purpose and even within the church you will find good intentioned people purposing to fragment your family in all different directions and for different purposes. Be one in all that you do, in family worship, family work and family play. Many distractions will complete for your hearts. Avoid the current tendency to run to meetings, important clubs, and working late instead building your home around the sacredness of the home. Make relationships your top priority even at the expense of profit.
Build a home, a nest where virtue can be developed.
I know several families that have mastered this art and it is no small feat for the size of these families. Many of them have between 8 and 11 children and they all go everywhere together. They serve in ministry together, put an addition on the house together and they build their homestead together and all the children are learning at their father's and mother's side to serve and grow and mature. It is a testimony of the oneness between the parents and the children have learned to follow. They are powerful families that have formed family conviction as each of the children grow into maturity ready to grow their own families.
Thirdly, fulfill your God ordained roles within the family. Chris, love your wife and be the leader and initiator of your home. All selfishness and independence must die at the alter. Learning to lead a family may take some time to master but it will set up the environment for your wife to truly be feminine, to be a support, companion and advisor to you all your life.
She will find it difficult to honor you if you will not be honorable in taking the lead and initiative and if she feels unloved in any way. I have seen many wives frustrated and alienated because their husbands will not lead but sit passivlly until their wives give up and take over. This makes it very difficult for wives to function this way and a loss of respect is inevitable. Our entire culture is generally manless, so I say, Chris be a man, be counter culture in this manless, feminized society.
Sarah, be a woman in all that the Word calls beautiful. Develop a meek and quiet spirit and resort to prayer in times of unresolved disagreements. Be faithful, so your husbands heart can safely trust in you. Be a blessing to him and be a good housekeeper, full of industry and productivity. Be happy and create your home, not expecting him to be the one to make you happy. Provide for him a home full of the fragrance of your sweet spirit and the aroma of a good home cooked meal.
The fourth and final thought is a word of advice that is not what you may have typically heard in premarriage counselling, in social circles nor even in church circles these days. It too, is very counter cultural, but it is entirely Biblical. Children are a blessing. The number of children that you have is not as important as the profound principle that children are a blessing. “Go forth and multiply” and I pray God's blessing on the fruitfulness of your relationship and to be blessed with many children!
Rejoicing with you this day and in your lives together.
Elvis and Janet Langford
Ryan and Stephanie,
Abbie (3) and Caden, (1)
Amy and Tim, Gabriel, (1)
What words of wisdom would you speak to encourage a young couple just starting out in life?
Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily