I was talking to someone over the weekend about Ephesians 5:25-31, Paul’s instructions to married men, and he commented that he finds sermons on the preceding verses, Paul’s exhortations to married women, very common. Common to the neglect of the exhorting of married men. I’ve heard sermons on each, myself, and cannot judge either way as to which I’ve heard more of. But regardless of the issue, real or perceived, married men seem to me to not be learning much of this vital information prior to tying the knot.
In the blogosphere I found an older article detailing a practical but brief perspective on the Ephesians verses for men. And an even more explicit and holistic view of the requirements of the husband in marriage (note, this article is graphic, not pictorial, but graphic) as spelled out throughout the Bible.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, so I’ve been told and have observed. My parents have been married 28/29 years, or thereabouts. I’ve observed them learn to deal with things together as they’ve raised my siblings and myself (we did not make it easy). But together they have joy and I think they can say, looking back, that the love they shared on their wedding day was the least love they’ve shared since. Marriage is a joining, a merging of two different people into a single living unit. The joining and merging brings a broadened perspective, an enhanced effectiveness. In business classes we learned that a well-balanced relationship allows for a result greater than the sum of the individual parts. This rings true for a strong marriage. Individually we may attempt and succeed at great things, but together, standing on each others shoulders, in each others care and support, and in Christs love, there is little indeed that cannot be accomplished. And children. Not only are the effect tangible in this life while the two live, but their heritage continues in their children, surpassing even the memory of their own specific achievements.
Marriage is also a difficult thing. In the “Great Unified Theory of Everything” (GUTE) marriage falls under the category Power Tools. A powerful tool can be easy and difficult at the same time, both using and mastering. A power tool can do great good and great evil, usually not at the same time. I have seen my parents argue, mostly when I was younger, and I recall the fear and insecurity those arguments gave me. But with time I can see how my mom and dad worked to deepen conversation and communication between each other, setting aside time each day to spend together. Usually right when dad got home from work, if something else wasn’t going on right then, he and mom would go into a room alone and talk. That took dedication, creating a habit in what could be a very hectic time of the day. As dad made more money he had the time and means to get involved in several hobbies, one of which is Civil War Reenacting. He’s always enjoyed camping, but my mom was never much for camping. In the past camping usually ended up being a “just us boys” time, which was good. But with reenacting there were enough amenities around that mom could go and enjoy herself too. But he also sets aside weekends several times each year that he and mom will leave for a quick weekend. Sometimes they go to the coast, sometimes they go to the mountains. Dad spends lots of time looking up Bed & Breakfasts that are well recommended and off the beaten path and he and mom will spend a weekend away, another honeymoon. Their love is palpable. Marriage is hard work, especially when children and life seem to be trying their utmost to pull you apart individually and as a couple, and making habits of togetherness and making the special effort to get away and be just together is of supreme importance.
Marriage is a wonderful thing, so I’ve heard. Like all wonderful things it takes a lot of work, hard work. The more work that is put in, the greater the potential. Realizing the potential is up to each of us individually, but for the couple the rewards are greatest together.