Tomorrow, we remember one of the most important days in human history. Okay… Maybe not that important, but it is pretty important to me. Tomorrow, me and the Mrs. will be celebrating 22 years of marriage.
It seems like it was just yesterday when two crazy college students decided to commit their lives one to another. We had no idea of what we were in store for. We went to premarital counseling and read books, but there is nothing like taking that final plunge into marriage. Those first three years were pretty rough as we blended two lives from two different families and backgrounds. In fact, we probably wouldn’t have made it except for a commitment to the whole “Till Death Do You Part” thing.
What was that hard? The fact that we are all selfish was at the heart of the issue… “I wanted what I wanted it when I wanted it.” Up until the age of 20, I could think about just me. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else. On that special day 22 years ago, I had to start thinking of “we.” There was an internal struggle those first years that resulted in anger, tears, and the occasional yelling, but we made it. In fact, we are closer than ever before. God has blessed with two great kids and lives full of family, friends, and ministry. I couldn’t ask for much more.
How have we succeeded when so many other marriages have failed? First, our faith in Christ guides who we are and gives us the power to overcome difficult situations. We work at keeping Christ at the center of our lives. Second, we have told each other that death is the only way out of this relationship and neither one of us are crafty enough to get away with murder. Third, we have decided to lose a little bit of ourselves along the way. For the past 22 years, I have worked to put God first, my wife second, my kids third, and then everything else. I want to honor God by putting others’ needs before my own. Do I always do this? No, but it is my goal. And, I think it is something that we should all strive for. Jesus said it best in Matthew 7:12…
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV)
There is no place for selfishness in our lives especially in our marriages. Just before Paul talks about some specific guidelines for husbands and wives in Ephesians, he gives us words that are powerful for us all in chapter 5 verse 20 & 21…
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (ESV)
We are to submit our lives to one another, and in that sense, we are losing a little bit of ourselves along the way. But, we aren’t really losing anything at all. We are giving pieces of ourselves to others as we drive out selfishness.