After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love. A little while ago I started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife’s idea.
“I know you love her,” she said one day, taking me by surprise.
“But I love YOU!” I protested.
“I know, but you also love her.”
The other woman my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years. The demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night, I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.
“What’s wrong, are you well,” she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.
“I thought it would be pleasant to pass some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”
She thought about it for a moment, then said, “I would like that very much.”
That Friday, after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the doorway with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s.
“I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady.
After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Halfway through the entree, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.
“It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said.
“Then it’s time you relaxed and let me return the favor,” I responded.
During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary – just catching up on recent events of each other’s lives. We talked so much that we missed the movie.
As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed and kissed her good night.
“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home.
“Very nice. Much nicer than I could have imagined,” I answered.
A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her.
Sometime later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn’t be there, but, never-the-less, I paid for two plates — one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant to me. I love you.”
At that moment, I understood the importance of saying, “I LOVE YOU” in time, and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot always be put off to “some other time.”
– Author Unknown
Meditation: But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Relationships are extremely important because they are the package holding whatever life may present to us at every turn. For the next few days, we will be meditating on five relationships that are pivotal to human success or failure. Our focus today is on marriage.
But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. – 1 Kings 21:25
The first type of relationship with great potential to make or break anyone is marriage, particularly the choice of spouse that you say, “I do” to. Marital relationship is crucial to your balance and overall performance as an individual. You are as successful to the degree of cooperation you receive from your spouse. Based on his/her constitution, your spouse largely influences the thrust of your pursuits; when they are keen, you are also keen. But when they are not, you tend to doubt the workability of your ideas, and that may slow you down.
Marriage is a fundamental aspect of life. It is also a catalyst that colours and determines the thrust of your bearing in other areas of life – professional, social, academic, spiritual, emotional, etc. You are as settled in all these to the extent that your home is settled. The portrait of your home is in direct relation to the personality of your spouse – cantankerous, reticent, ambitious, laid back, driven, carefree, focused, disciplined, scattered, spiritual, social, ethical, morally lax, sociable, introverted, thorough, superficial, and other value systems that your spouse espouses and to what extent.
From the passage above, we can see that even if Ahab wasn’t so bent on evil, the influence of his wife who “stirred him up” left him with little room to do otherwise. The Bible is replete with several examples of spousal factors in the determination of how one fares in life, so is our contemporary world. Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from the LORD and positioned him for divine retribution (1 Kings 11:4-9); Samson was ruined because of the kind of woman he married. Korah, Achan, and Ananias brought sudden death upon their wives and households because of their wrong choices. Abigail saved her husband and household from certain death (1 Samuel 25); Zipporah rescued Moses from being killed by God (Exodus 4:24-26). And Mary might not have been chosen to mother Jesus if she wasn’t married to a descendant of Judah, particularly from David’s lineage. These are all pointers to the sensitivity of the choice of person you decide to spend the rest of your life with in marriage.
Marriage is something that should be approached with lots of fervent prayers for divine direction, as it is a destiny issue. Your spouse is your first destiny partner, and s/he can either fast-track, slow down or even stagnate you. That is on the light side; at the extreme, many people have had their lives cut short directly by their spouse or indirectly through their spouse’s choices or misdeeds.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The Marriage Beatitudes
1. Blessed are the husband and wife who continue to be affectionate, considerate, and loving after the wedding bells have ceased ringing.
2. Blessed are the husband and wife who are as polite and courteous to one another as they are to their friends.
3. Blessed are they who have a sense of humour, this attribute will make their marriage much brighter.
4. Blessed are they who love their mates more than any other person in the world, and who joyfully fulfil their marriage vows with a lifetime of fidelity and mutual helpfulness to each other.
5. Blessed are they who remember to thank God for their food before they partake of it, and who set aside some time each day for reading the Bible and for prayer.
6. Blessed are they who attain parenthood, for children are a heritage of the Lord.
7. Blessed are those mates who never speak loudly to each other and who make their home a place “where seldom is heard a discouraging word.”
8. Blessed are the husband and wife who can work out their problems of adjustment without interference from relatives or friends.
9. Blessed is the couple that has worked out a complete understanding about financial matters and has a perfect partnership.
10. Blessed are the husband and wife who humbly dedicate their lives and their home to Christ, and who practice the teachings of Christ in their home by being unselfish, loyal and loving.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
Meditation: And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Our wedding was on October 14, 1966. But our marriage began three weeks later. We were dressed up and on our way to the swankiest restaurant in town. We had saved all week for the big splurge.
One problem–my bride was wearing the most horrible perfume ever manufactured. Smelled like a mixture of mustard gas, black pepper, and vaporized maple syrup. I still get queasy thinking about it.
We had stopped at a railroad crossing. It was cold outside. The windows were up and the heater was on. My nose and lungs silently begged for mercy. But I didn’t want to upset my bride with a comment about her perfume.
I had decided the one perfect marriage in history would be ours. No conflicts…no harsh words…no hurt feelings…no tears…nothing negative. My wife had made a similar resolution. For three weeks we had walked on eggshells, protecting each other from the slightest unpleasantness.
Dare I break the spell? Dare I be honest and open? She had soaked in that blasted stuff every day of our marriage. I knew I couldn’t hold out forever. So I said in my sweetest, softest voice, “Honey, that perfume smells like bug spray.”
Silence! Like the silence that must have followed President Roosevelt’s announcement that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I stared straight ahead trying to concentrate on the steady metallic rhythm of the train cars rolling by.
I glanced at my bride out of the corner of my eye. Her lower lip was quivering slightly. The way it still does when she’s fighting a good cry. We drove on.
After an eternity she mumbled softly, “I won’t use that brand again.” Any married person can finish the story. We choked down our gourmet dinner. Pouted. Went through the “It’s all my fault, Honey” routine. Shed tears. And were finally reconciled, promising never to be cross with each other again. The whole episode is now part of our family lore. Our repertory of delightful “young and dumb” stories.
But I still think our marriage began with my observation about the perfume. At that point, we began to grow. We discovered marriage is a union stronger than emotions. We began to drop the foolishness about unruffled bliss. We took our first steps toward learning that one all-important lesson, a lesson no one ever outgrows–love is a death-resurrection relationship.
As for the perfume…I sprayed the rest on roaches. It worked!
By Wes Seeliger
Meditation: Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? – Amos 3:3
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Yesterday, I went to interview a preacher. He came three hours late to his church, venue of our meeting and I was a bit angry. But when he explained what kept him, not only did I forgive him quickly and learned some lessons, but I decided to share this with you so that some of us could learn.
Husbands and wives should learn how to settle their quarrels without delay. I have seen situations where couples allow simple disagreement to fester for days. Husband is silently hurting, expecting the wife to speak to him first; same for the wife, hurting and expecting the husband to play the man. The waiting game leads from one thing to the other. If you are at this level of matrimony, please read this. You might have a reason to call your spouse and together take an oath that “OUR QUARREL WOULD NOT LAST BEYOND THAT MOMENT.”
The story as told by the reverend: Husband and his wife (his church members) had a domestic disagreement one morning. The man said he was so bitter about it, claiming his wife knew she was wrong but refused to apologise. She felt it was a non-issue and the husband should overlook easily. To say “I am sorry, darling” to her husband was difficult for her. So many people are like that. So many wives take their husbands for granted too much. We are humans. Blood flows in our veins.
Three days on, malice reigned in the house. The husband said he must get that “I am sorry.” Wife cooked, husband refused to eat. Every day he came home with food from the restaurant. He boycotted matrimonial bed. Husband found new friends in the children; same with the wife. By the way, the children were too small to break the ice. I’ve been there before. Thank God I am wiser now.
On Sunday, last Sunday, they went to church in their different cars but sat side by side during service, pretending to be jolly good husband and wife. Fraud in the house of God! May God forgive some husbands and wives. But after service, husband went home with the children while she waited for women’s meeting. That day, Satan decided to enter the crevice they allowed in their home.
The husband was home already. When he perfunctorily checked his phone, his wife had called him thrice. He disregarded calling her back. Malice. The wife drove in some forty minutes later. He saw Usman opening the gate for her as his phone went on ringing. He checked it. It was his wife. She was in her car at the garage already. What is she calling me for? Foolish and stubborn wife! He said and ignored her calls. The call went on for a while. He ignored it as he sat with the TV.
Thirty minutes later, she did not come in. Something told him to go and check. Is she still in the car? Yes she must be there. He called Usman, Is madam in the car? Few minutes later, Usman rushed in, “Madam dey sleep inside the car o!”
That was when he woke up and rushed downstairs. Asthma! Could she be having her usual attack? Could she have forgotten her inhaler?
He quickly took the inhaler and rushed downstairs. When he got there, she was almost breathless. Usman and husband quickly carried her to the back seat and off he sped like a bat out of hell to the clinic nearby. Madam was confirmed dead! If he had picked her call early enough, probably she could have been saved.
When you leave domestic disagreement to fester for too long, it leads to greater evil. The preacher said the husband is weeping mad, blaming himself: “I killed my wife!”
Only God knows how many wives, husbands, children have died such a needless death. Couples must cultivate one another. No matter how angry I am with my wife; I, in my office; she, in her shop; I call her at least three times during the day. I call even when I have no reason to call. All I would say is, “Where are you? Anything for your boyfriend?” I am not saying this to impress anybody, but because it is true.
— Author Unknown
Meditation: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn’t hungry. The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw. And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.
Rudy often came with me and almost every time he’d pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I’d always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.
Rudy knew I loved yellow roses. With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy had passed on.
Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two. Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak.
Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit. I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back. She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks. She saw me watching her and she smiled. “My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don’t know.”
I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes. “My husband passed away eight days ago,” I told her. Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice. “Buy him the steaks. And cherish every moment you have together.”
She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.
I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products. There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy. A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the front of the store. If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone. I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front.
I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me. In her arms she carried a package. On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen. I would swear a soft halo encircled her blond hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine. As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes. “These are for you,” she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. “When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for.” She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.
I wanted to tell her what she’d done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision. I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal. How did she know?
Suddenly the answer seemed so clear. I wasn’t alone. “Oh, Rudy, you haven’t forgotten me, have you?” I whispered, with tears in my eyes. He was still with me, and she was his angel.
Everyday be thankful for what you have and who you are.
— Author Unknown
Meditation: But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
You will succeed in Jesus Name!