Married and Becoming More Married

John and Jane at Cliffs of MohrAt the breakfast table one morning this week, I said to my husband, “we got married forty-eight years ago, but we are more married, now.” He agreed. I’m guessing, however, that I need to explain the phrase “more married.” It probably doesn’t make sense. People are either married or not married, Right?

No, not exactly.  On the day that, in the presence of our families and friends, John and I said “I do” and “I will” to one another, we were legally married. We loved one another and were committed to one another, but I knew very little about him, and he knew even less about me. Compared to the relationship that we have today, we were rather loosely connected. I’m thankful that we are no longer living at our starting-point level of maturity. The connection that we now have is much more solid; it’s rock-solid, and we could not be easily broken apart. That’s why I say that we are more married.

We are so well connected that we often know what the other one of us is thinking without even opening our mouths. We’ve grown in our relationship and because of our relationship. We’ve affected one another in very positive ways—and continue to do so, experiencing the truth of Proverbs 27:17 (NCV) —“As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other.”

What has produced the solidness in our marriage? For one thing, we have spent a lot of time talking together—sharing our hearts and resolving our conflicts. But that is not the primary “glue” of our rock-solid union. The primary reason that we are so solidly connected is that we pray. We pray with each other and for each other—every day. We also pray for others; this helps us from becoming inwardly focused.

Prayer is so powerful because it connects us not only with one another but also with God. He is the source of our love. “God is Love” (I John 4:16). When both of us are getting our love-tanks filled up by God, John and I are able to focus more on what we can give to one another than what we can get from one another. God is also our source of wisdom. When John and I are both relying on his wisdom, we don’t get into arguments. I don’t tell John what to do and he doesn’t tell me what to do. Instead, we go, together, to God, and he tells us what to do. When we both align our wills with God’s will, we have total agreement and peace in our relationship. We can make decisions with ease, and making plans is fun.

Because (through prayer) John and I have our heads and our hearts connected to Jesus Christ, we are more married than we were forty-eight years, ago. I expect that tomorrow we shall be even more married.

Who is Writing Your Life Story?

After enjoying a walk along the lakeshore in the coolness of the morning, I returned home to a special breakfast prepared by one of my daughters and her family. It included blueberry and maple flavored gluten free scones, an assortment of fresh fruit—grapes, blueberries, and pineapple, an omelet stuffed with red pepper and zucchini, and hot tea. This meal was served to me with “You are queen for a day” and “Happy birthday Grandma” greetings, hugs, and smiles. Beside my plate, I found two beautiful cards designed by my grandchildren. And wrapped in pink paper was a large piece of smoked wild salmon which came from Alaskan waters. What a great way to begin celebrating my seventy-seventh birthday!

Later, I received a lovely bouquet of flowers, gift, and phone call from my other daughter and her family. Then I called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. During our conversation, she told me that she had recently asked for prayer and had received the following message: God is writing your story, so sit back, relax, and enjoy it.

“How did that make you feel?” I asked.

“Happy!” she said.

The phrase “God is writing your story” stuck in my mind, and I pondered that idea for awhile. Do I believe that God is writing my story? If so, how do I feel about that? Is he writing everyone’s story?  What evidence do I have for that?  If so, how do the choices that we make affect our destiny? In what way do genetics and environmental factors determine who we become?

I’m not going to try to answer those questions or explain how everything fits together—it’s too complex. However, the following Scriptures indicate to me that God definitely influences our genetic makeup, and he has good things planned for us.

The Psalmist said: “For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb . . .
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139: 13,16 NIV).

The prophet Jeremiah said, “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Yet God’s good plans don’t automatically appear to us, arriving as a birthday present; in some mysterious way, our choices matter. This challenge that Moses gave to Israel— “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV) — applies to all of us.

I hope that you will join me with an enthusiastic “yes” to God writing your life story. “Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.” —Philippians 2:12-13 MSG).