December 29, 2004
Encouragement for Today

"Til Death Us Do Part"
Melissa Taylor, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

Key verse:

"...What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:6 (KJV)

Devotion:

Years ago, fourteen to be exact, my husband and I entered into the covenant of marriage.  I remember being nervous as I waited in the "Bride's Room" at my church.  Moments before the ceremony was to begin, there was a knock on the door.  Standing there was the wedding director with a note for me, from my husband-to-be.  The contents of that note truly changed me.

I don't have to envision that note to remember the words or the heart-felt emotion and truth it contained.  You see, Jeff, my groom, knew that I was nervous.  And just like the best friend he has always been to me, he wanted to encourage and comfort me.  His note went something like this:

To My Beautiful Wife-To-Be,

I want you to remember one thing as you begin to proceed down the aisle this afternoon.  What we are doing, the words we will be saying, the commitment we are making is between three:  you, me, and God.  All of these other people are just here to witness me marrying the most beautiful, the sweetest, and greatest woman in the world.  I love you.  'Til Death Us Do Part, Jeff.

I can't even begin to describe the comfort these words brought me on that cold, Saturday afternoon and the comfort they still bring me today.  I am married to a very funny, humorous man.  It's hard to know when to take him seriously.  Many have commented on how much fun it must be to live with Jeff, and it is.  But on our wedding day, I knew how serious he was.  The covenant (promise) of marriage means a great deal to both of us. 

In a world where divorce is as common as a cold, it's comforting to know that we will keep our commitment to each other.  And don't forget, we also made this commitment to God.  In fact, the exact words were, "I take you to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, forsaking all others, 'til death us do part."  In another part of the ceremony, our promises were followed by the words, "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."  As a child of divorce, I am very comforted by the love, faithfulness, and commitment of my dearly devoted husband.  And he is comforted by mine as are our children.

This year for our anniversary, we had a little family celebration. We have four precious gifts from God, 3 boys and 1 girl.  I cooked a special meal, the kids made cards, and there were small gifts.  Jeff presented me with a dozen red roses, which set the tone for what was to be a lovely evening.

Before dinner, we each stated why we were glad that "daddy and mommy" were married and anything else that was on our heart about this special occasion.    Hayley Grace, our two year old said, "You are MY mommy and daddy and I love you."  She is sooooo cute!  Then it was Dylan's turn.  In his sweet six-year-old voice, he said, "Daddy, I'm glad you married mommy, because you guys look good together!" The next two were the most profound to me.  Hayden, who is eight, said, "I'm glad you met each other and got married.  Please don't ever get divorced."  Our ten year old, Blake followed with a similar comment, "Please always stay together and don't get divorced.  I'm so glad you two are together, because if you weren't then we wouldn't be a family because us four kids wouldn't be here." 

Jeff and I were both silenced by these last two comments.  Why would they even think of mentioning divorce?  My parents divorced when I was young, and they know that.  They have friends whose parents are divorced, and we have friends who have gone through divorce themselves.  We never knew our children were troubled by the fear of divorce and it was so wonderful to be able to put their minds at ease.  We told all of them they would never have to worry about their parents divorcing.  We shared with them our wedding vows and to whom we made them.  Jeff told these insightful children, who are the result of our perfect union, how much he loves me.  He explained that the promises we made fourteen years ago are still alive and in our hearts today.  I agreed, then hugged and kissed the love of my life.  (That totally grossed them out!)  With a big loud "EEEEEWWWWW!" we closed the doors on the subject and went on with our family celebration.

I know not every marriage is perfect.  Mine isn't.  However, I'm committed to my husband and he is committed to me.  We may be secure in that promise, but I want our children to understand that promise as well.  There is enough to worry them in this world without the fear of one of their parents leaving.  I hope my daughter and sons learn from us the way God intended marriage to be.  May they feel secure and learn how to give love and accept love by watching us. 

A happy marriage is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other and to our children.  I look forward to the next fourteen (and then some!) years of life with Jeff right by my side...... "To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, forsaking all others....'til death us do part."  In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!

My prayer for today:

Dear God, thank you for creating the covenant of marriage.  I ask you today to bless my marriage and the marriages of my friends and family.  Help me to love, honor, and respect my husband the way You want me to.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray this, Amen.


Application steps:

If you are married, pray for your husband and your marriage every day.  Ask God to bless your marriage and reflect His love through you.

Show and tell your kids how much you love their daddy.  Chances are, they will learn most about love by watching the two of you!

If you are not married, pray for God's direction in your life where choosing a mate is concerned.  Ask Him to reveal His plan and purpose for your life.

If you have been divorced, God bless you!  Do not live in guilt or condemnation.  Ask the Lord to show you why your previous marriage did not work and what your part in its failure was.  Ask Him to forgive you and move on.  God can make a way for you to learn from the past and live the life of love that He intended for you to live.


Reflection points:

Do I respect my husband as the leader of our home?

Do I find time to spend with my husband on a regular basis?

Will I make my marriage a priority and keep the vows I made on my wedding day?

How often do I say "I love you" to my husband?  How often do I show it?

Power verses:

"This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and two are united into one."  Genesis 2:24 (NLT)

"Didn't the Lord make you one with your wife?  In body and spirit, you are His.  And what does He want?  Godly children from your union.  So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.  "For I hate divorce!" says the Lord, the God of Israel.  "It is as cruel as putting on a victim's bloodstained coat," says the Lord Almighty.  "So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife."  Malachi 2:15-16 (NLT)

"Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together."  Matthew 19:6 (NLT)

"Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She will not hinder him but help him all her life."  Proverbs 31:11-12 (NLT)


Additional resources:

Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/capturehis.html

Capture Her Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/captureher.html

A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/secretbalanced.html