Hurricanes Harvey and Irma set catastrophic records this year, unleashing destructive winds and torrential flooding in the United States. In the midst of covering the storms, the news media stumbled upon a curious couple—Harvey and Irma Schluter. Harvey is 102 and Irma is 93. This couple has weathered 75 years of marital storms!
Is it still realistic to expect that marriages should last that long? When the winds blow and the water level rises, are households really going to stand strong, like Harvey and Irma’s has? I really believe what the late pastor Adrian Rogers once astutely observed:
As goes the west, so goes the world.
As goes America, so goes the west.
As goes the church, so goes America.
As goes the family, so goes the church.
As goes the marriage, so goes the family.
As goes the heart, so goes the marriage.
Thriving marriages are necessary not only for the survival of the church, but for the revival of the church. And revived marriages begin with revived hearts like yours and mine.
That’s why Satan’s most lethal weapons in his battle to destroy marriage relate to heart issues, not legal ones. The deadly storm surge of selfishness, discontentment, pride, and blame can overwhelm once-healthy relationships in any context—even in church!
Now, let me be honest here: My wife and I do not have a perfect marriage. Like every other married couple, we have to hunker down and do the hard work of resolving conflict and nurturing our marriage. We daily have to ask God for help, especially when we disagree, or when one of us walks on the dark road of selfishness.
But in the storm, God is there. His grace faithfully rescues and empowers us to rebuild our relationship and to re-establish the oneness and joy that was lost.
So, whether your marriage today is strong and secure, or it’s being battered by hurricane-force challenges, I wanted to offer a word of challenge to you, husband or wife. Your relationship together can be strengthened in direct proportion to your relationship with God. The way you respond to Him is directly related to the way you respond to each other.
Over the years, Life Action has taught churches and families about six biblical responses to God that lead to new life and new beginnings. And, in my experience, they directly apply to marriage!
Be humble—to secure God’s grace in your marriage (James 4:6).
Be honest—to experience healing in your marriage (James 5:16).
Be repentant—to ensure God’s presence in your marriage (Isa. 57:15).
Be forgiving—to avoid bitterness in your marriage (Eph. 4:31-32).
Be obedient—to obtain God’s blessing in your marriage (Isa. 1:19).
Be kingdom-minded—to enjoy fruitfulness in your marriage (Matt. 28:19-20).
Perhaps the articles on our website about marriage will spark some important conversations—not so much about marriage generally, but about your marriage specifically. Marriage is an amazing gift from God, and as the apostle Paul reminded us in Ephesians 5, it’s not just about us. There is a mystery at work as well, something far bigger involved, something about marital relationships that has eternal, theological implications.
Imagine that for a moment: Your marriage has eternal, theological implications!
For that reason, and for many others, it’s worth fighting for. It’s worth your prayers, worth your effort, worth weathering whatever storms may be on the horizon. If your heart is willing, God will give you grace each day, and maybe you’ll end up like dear old Harvey and Irma, celebrating 75 years together!
image credit: Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review