To: Graham and Cassie, congratulations and best wishes

Encouraging ideas for the beginning of marriage.

There is a joke by a comedian who said: “I did not know what happiness was until I got married, and then it was too late.” I would like to put a different comment about the line. I did not know what happiness was until I got married. That was the beginning of happiness for me. At this writing I have been married 58 years and they are happy years. The real secret for me was learning the words of Scripture about what I am supposed to be and how I am to treat my wife.

“A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.” (Eph. 5:25) Love is not merely verbal, but being verbal about your love for one another is important. There are three words that should be said to one another daily–"I love you." One can express love by a touch, deep looks into the eyes of the other, a deed done in appreciation for something, but the words also must be spoken. A day should never go by without bestowing these wonderful words on your mate. Do not be like the New Hampshire farmer who told his wife, “I told you once I love you, if I change my mind I will let you know.”

I delight in telling my wife I love her. I have tried to do that everyday of our life together. I don’t keep tabs on this, I enjoy telling her. To affirm my love for her deepens my own love for her.

Ephesians has some other words about love, “ In the same way, a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A husband who loves his wife shows that he loves himself.”
(Eph. 5:28) A selfish husband is terrible. I recently talked with a friend whose mother had died and the father was a good looking person, able and capable, but he could not find another wife because he was selfish. He wants everyone to wait on him. He wants a wife as a servant and women do not want to be slaves. Love means one shares. A wife will do things for her beloved husband that she would not do for money.

I have always felt badly for wives who can never retire. Husband retire from jobs, but they still want to eat, have clean clothes, live in a clean house. But wives cannot retire from cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. If you love your wife as you love yourself it is important to look at her role and she works far more than an 8 hour day. (In case you are wondering if I do any of these things, I make breakfast, wash the dishes every day, then after lunch I help clean up the dishes so that we can both be free to do what we want to do.)

Marriage does have its conflicts. Sometimes I have been wrong. I have said things that should not have been said. Sometimes she has been wrong. What to do? Apologize!!! Apologies are important. When you have hurt the one you love verbally, there must be an apology. It must be said in this day of abuse that spouses are not for abuse, whether verbally or physically.

We must remember the words of Scripture, “ And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails! “ (I Cor. 13:3-8)

Take a look at some of the descriptive words: there are positive ones like kind, patient, rejoices in the truth, love is supportive, loyal, hopeful, trusting. Never keeps a record of wrongs. There are negative ones, jealous, boastful, proud, rude.

This is a passage that should be memorized to become the type of spouse that God models for us.

Forgiveness must be a part of a Christian’s life. Forgiveness gives the basis of reconciliation. Forgiveness means a new beginning. Without forgiveness the marriage relationship becomes soured. Reconciliation is a life long need for a healthy marriage. Just as God has forgiven us we need to forgive one another.

These are foundational for a loving marriage as well as loving your future children.

Blessings on you both. Dallas and Elaine