Marriage

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Soon you’ll be married. The sun will rise on your wedding day, and when it sets you’ll be a married person.

For now, though, think of everything you’ve done to get ready for this one day. No matter how simple or elaborate your wedding will be, you’ve treated each part of it with exquisite care because you want it to be just right. All the things you’ve done have been with an eye on tomorrow, making sure that nothing is forgotten, that everything flows together like sweet music.

Can you ever remember putting so much effort into something? Have you ever been so concerned that all of your plans work out right? Probably not. And only after tomorrow is past will you realize why you were right to be satisfied with nothing less than the effort you’ve given.

You’ll also do well to hold onto that attitude of persistent dedication. Because if you look beyond tomorrow for a moment, you’ll see that the days of marriage far outnumber the days of wedding preparation before. What you make of those post-wedding days will depend on the same two things that made your wedding day such a success-planning and steady effort.

Maybe you’ve never really pondered what the days after your marriage will require. You’ve been absorbed with wedding plans. You can’t express how much you love the man or woman who will tomorrow become your spouse. Up until now, the expectation of how wonderful your marriage will be has sufficed.

That’s natural. It’s also risky. What if you hadn’t prepared but had simply expected your wedding day to work out fine? It seems crazy to ask such a question, because you’d never have let that happen. Your wedding day deserved your full attention and, because you gave it that attention, you’re confident. Your marriage, according to the vows you will say tomorrow, will be for the rest of your days. It deserves even more attention.

But what does that mean? What can you do to prepare for a marriage that will work as well as your wedding? A good place to start is to recognize that the indescribable emotions you experience tomorrow when you say “I do” will not remain every minute of every day thereafter. You’ll want them to remain, and they will return on occasion in your marriage. But they’re special emotions, not common ones, and will not be easily summoned during all the more common times of marriage. Can you imagine, for example, feeling those kinds of emotions when the two of you are disagreeing?

So how can you plan for a marriage that works? Find a basis for it – a foundation that’s not unpredictable like your emotions. Think of the setting of your wedding tomorrow, of the kinds of things you’ll be saying to the man or woman you love, to your friends and relatives and to God – things like “I will love this man/woman, and honor and cherish him/her forever.”

Have you ever done anything forever? No. And neither has anyone else who’s said the same words at a wedding. But consider this: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” That’s a quote, and if you substitute “forever” for the more old-fashioned “everlasting” used in it, you’ll see that we just might be onto something.

Remember again that God is going to be a part of the audience at your wedding tomorrow. Maybe you’ve never really thought about that. Maybe you’ve looked at His participation in your wedding as mere formality. If you have, you’re shorting yourself. He is without question the most interested observer who will attend. Why? Because He’s got a stake in your marriage. He came up with the practice in the first place, and is committed to helping marriages work. Here’s another quote: “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them.”

Translate “covenant” there as “promise,” like, the one you’ll be making tomorrow when you say “I do.” God is not only capable of keeping promises forever, but He’s willing to help you do the same. Take Him up on the offer. Make Him the solid foundation that won’t budge when your emotions are doing somersaults. Do that and, after you speak your vows, you can expect your marriage to turn out as well as your wedding.