Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Blunders and Grace in Marriage

One of the best pickup lines you’ll ever hear is found in The Song of Solomon. Ladies, see if your heart doesn’t flutter as you envision your beloved saying sweetly to you, “Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, which looks toward Damascus” (7:4).

I don’t know what the tower of Lebanon looked like. It was undoubtedly an impressive structure. Straight, most likely. Stately, perhaps. And probably big, as towers tend to be, which, of course, every girl longs to hear about her schnoz.

Surely this was both meant and taken as an affectionate compliment, as the context shows by the way Solomon describes the physical beauty of his bride. Personally, I would caution any young man seeking to win a young maiden’s heart to perhaps find an alternative way of articulating your delight in her proboscis, no matter how stately or straight or impressive a structure it may be.

With that said, in spite of my own blunders and failures along the way, I am profoundly grateful for the loving faithfulness of my wife as we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this week. She is a gift from the Lord, a treasure of grace, and a “helper just right” for me (cf. Genesis 2:20), even if sometimes I neglect to appreciate such help, as stubborn-minded husbands are prone to do.

Do you want to know one of the keys to a good and lasting marriage? We’re not perfect by far, but through 25 years of experience I can tell you what’s kept us together – it’s centering our lives in the grace of Christ Jesus. You knew I’d give you a churchy-sounding answer, didn’t you? But I’m only saying it because it’s true. Or to use this analogy, His grace is the Gorilla-glue which has fastened our hearts and lives together in an unshakeable and unbreakable bond.

It’s His grace that enables us to love one another even when we don’t feel like it. It’s His grace that compels us to forgive each another when we’ve been wronged. It’s His grace that keeps us faithful to our marriage covenant because we want our lives to honor Christ as Lord.

We struggle at times with communication. We don’t see every issue eye to eye. We can observe the exact same situation and come to contrasting conclusions about it. We want to achieve the same goals, ultimately, but would take different routes to get there. Anybody relate?

Yet through it all it’s the grace of God holding us together. The same Lord who united our hearts as one when we said “I do” is the same Lord who has strengthened us to stand as one when otherwise we might feel like giving up and throwing in the towel.

Whether your marriage today could use just a little lift or is need of a major miracle, let me encourage you to find help in the grace of Christ Jesus. He can change attitudes that need adjusting. He can transform hearts from stone to flesh. He can mend what has been broken and restore what has been shattered. No wonder we still call it amazing!

Let the grace of Christ take center stage in your life, and let Him fill your marriage with love and joy and peace and purpose like you’ve never known before. You can start right now by pouring out your heart to Him for mercy and turning humbly to Him for help.

And as you do, I’d suggest refraining from any attempts at Old Testament poetic expressions concerning the scope and shape your wife’s nose.