My heart did a “quantum leap,” as in a flashback, and I was back at our first meeting. I, an Air Florida stewardess from the Midwest, met my roommate’s cousin, a twenty five year old, third year med student at the University of Miami. This distinguished older man, Patrick, smote me. Then one spring day, he knocked on the door of our apartment. I opened the door and before Patrick could even say a word, I blurted out, “Peggy is not here.” Smiling with a mysterious grin he answered, “I came to see you.” Those words were few in number but big in winning my heart forever. Maybe it was that grin that still takes my breath away. It says to me to this day, “I love you!” We were a couple from that day forward. Even though we only dated half a year, he proposed to me that October. I guess you could say, “He had me at hello.” I never wanted him to say, “Goodbye.”
On May 1, 1974, our vows were said, in Key Biscayne, Florida, at sunset by the ocean. It was very romantic. Yes indeed, but guess who was not on the guest list? It was our Savior Jesus Christ. Oh I did read this very scripture I Cor. 13. But if my 61 year old brain remembers correctly, Jesus was not the center of that ceremony. We were actually married two times that spring. We had our married become a sacrament, with a wedding renewal of vows at my parent’s home in Louisville, Georgia by Father Kunkle. This ceremony was preceded by a month long, and I must add unforgettable, honeymoon to the West. Then to top it off, on Dec at our 35 year of marriage we renewed our vows. We chose to have our seven children, all adults, walk down the aisle before us at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, Georgia, just before Now Deacon Pat and I, walked down, hand in hand. It was a moment of grace of what God can do with two lives yielded to Him. We had come a long way from that first “I DO!” At that third ceremony we affirmed with the maturity of knowing what a lifelong commitment really means. We had lived them. Our kiss was passionate and familiar and came with a security we had developed over the years. Kisses were an outward sign of our intimate oneness. They always say, “I love you best, no matter what,” without exchanging any words. I was grateful I had chosen Patrick for my “Happily ever after.” Taking his arm, and walking down the aisle to exit the church, I knew that he would always be at my side.
The Word of God says, “The two shall become one and what God has joined together let no man put asunder. “ The two shall become one, physically, that is the easy part. Becoming one mentally and spiritually, that is the challenge. I know I have tried. What have I learned? I have learned this: Don’t attempt this without a GPS; namely God’s Power Working thru His Holy Spirit. In God alone I have learned I place my trust. To live the sacrament of marriage healthily one must have a man and a woman whose have both centered their life on Jesus as Savior and Lord. God after all is love and love is of God. You see the love of the marriage has to come from God because His love is never ending. Human love comes from the flesh. It always fails. God’s love comes from His Holy Spirit. His love never fails.
Has anyone else tried and failed in loving your spouse? Have you been trying to do it on your own, on your own strength? It is frustrating isn’t it? It becomes especially frustrating when you are the only one trying. It is like pulling a little red wagon with an adult man sitting inside of it. He ain’t heavy he’s your brother. It is like walking up a mountain with a backpack of bricks on your back. When God word says” He wants us to fly like an eagle. Wagon pulling and backpack climbing with bricks as your companion definitely not God’s best, of course not. God wants a man and woman to be equally yoked and live in love with one another. The vows read on my wedding day said, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in heath, in good times and in bad, till death do you part. Is this just an idea, a suggestion or God’s perfect plan for man and wife who are united in marriage for life? I think that the world, the flesh and the devil have worked overtime to destroy marriages and families. We can just turn on the Television, listen to the radio, get on the internet or talk with people to see what havoc has come about by not doing it God’s way. We are imperfect people loving each other imperfectly. We always will be. But to those who have a heart for living their marriage for God and putting God’s word into practice, improvement will become evident.
So today I came to bring, “GOOD NEWS!” Our God is a God of Hope. Ladies, where there is life there is always hope. Today is a new beginning. A time to erase all past hurts mistakes and disappointments and begins anew. How we do that, you may be asking yourself.
• Take some time week to Stop and see where you have been.
• Look at where you are.
• Listen to that still small voice instruct you in the way you should go.
o Where does God want to take your marriage?
If you were to rate your marriage on a scale from 1-10. What would your number be? Are you a perfect 10? Or are you barely breaking a 2. The good news is we can always improve. Plus there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord. In order to grow in our relationship we have to be willing. Here is what Einstein so brilliantly states; “Definition for insanitary is Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result.” What do you think ladies? I personally think that Einstein is a genus. You see if you want any area of your life to be different, you must do something different. Remember everything begins in prayer, ends in prayer and is established with prayer.
However prayer alone is not usually the answer. Think the wedding feast of Cana. Dilemma: They ran out if wine. Did they pray- no but they did seek wise counsel from Mary, Jesus mother. What did she wisely say? Do whatever He tells you. We all have questions. God has answers. He wrote the book. Even Job asked at least 20 questions. God answered them all more brilliantly than even Einstein could. When we face a mountain in our lives and realize we cannot move that mountain. We must go to the mountain of God in prayer and listen for that still small voice. If we listen then does whatever He tell us to do? We will put our foot on the road toward victory. Prayer plus action equal victory in Jesus. It is then that we walk on the water of the Word, we seek Him and we find Him when we seek Him with our whole heart. Oh that is just what happened to my friend Job. It is than that we learn the meaning of the words, One day at a time sweet Jesus. Because my friend today has enough worry of its own. Change is hard and it takes time give God permission—Lord changes me. Then be patient with yourself remind yourself God isn’t finished with you yet. That mountain will be removed- one day at a time sweet Jesus. That mountains will is removed by working with His Holy Spirit. Yes it is the W word ladies.
God who is all knowing, all powerful and all good gives us some wisdom on how to live the marriage covenant –“So Happy Together!! This wisdom is found in I Corinthians 13. It is a definition of what love is. In a way it is a definition of the attributes of God. If these attributes are put into action, character grows and love grows. If they are just read and implanted in the mind they become just words on a page. We cannot change others we can only change ourselves. Hopefully, but not necessarily, in a marriage covenant both people want to follow Christ. Love grows when change occurs.
LOVE SUFFERS LONG
I guess you could say we put the hardest one first. I bought this poster because I loved the way the first line was stated. Yes, love suffers long. Sometimes it is a matter of just putting one foot in front of another and not even being able to sport a smile. If you or your husband is in a pit, offer a hand and please offer to pull them out. You never kick a man when they are down. Please have pray for the grace to not give them more to do. They already have enough on their plate already. The Indian woman has a message that they tell their daughters they get married. It goes like this: “If a man goes in his cave, leave him alone because if you go in his cave the bear will come after you.” So how can you love him when things are tough?
Now if you are in the pit; give yourself permission to be human. Talk with him about your situation and let him know that this is a time that you need some tender loving care. NO one--- absolutely No One can go on empty. You must take the time to heal when you are giving beyond humanly possible. If he will not listen, seek wise counsel.
LOVE IS KIND
A kind word will not be forgotten. Actions always speak louder than words. But do not be fooled ladies, “Words count and wounds wound. A wounded man is hard to repair. This is the time that a bandage will not do the trick. Sometime their heart is bleeding, they need more than a bandage; perhaps even spiritual surgery. Proverbs 31 say, “The law of kindness is on their lips.” In a healthy marriage this is essential. Do not air his dirty laundry, even if he is the one that has soiled it. Men want to be respected. They do not want to be the star of a tell all reality show! They are private. They barely talk to them about their problems. Women on the other hand, thrive on reality life. However, when the man is exposed in a negative way, this borders on gossip even if it is just among family members. James says, “Put a guard over your tongue. Dennis McBride used to say, “Lose lips sink ships.” You do not want to sink your love boat. Make sure you have a life preserver. If you need to talk seek wise counsel or encourage him to go to counsel together. Tell God the problems in prayer then leave it at the foot of the cross. Kindness gives him permission to be him. In return, it gives you permission to be you. Let him be him without nagging or complaining.
LOVE DOES NOT ENVY
Jealousy, the Green Giant of all Giants; oh boy did we open a can of worms. Did you hear the cliché, “Jealousy killed the cat?” It can also kill a relationship too. Keep your eyes on Jesus, jealousy can knock on the door of your relationship. Do you know what, in so many ways, in so many ways; you can do nothing about it. You must be happy with who you. Jealousy is often about a poor self-image. Take the time to know and to love yourself. Then accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference. I do not believe in men and woman friendships in marriage, call me old fashion. I am fine with that. Don’t take my word for it; just watch the old movie, “When Harry Met Sally.” Relationships require time building them. If you are jealous because of lack of time with your spouse, that is a limitative grip. God’s order is God first, husband second, then others. God’s order brings peace. No one should feel all alone in a marriage. Marriage is 2 by 2. If your spouse is spend more time with another person than you, you will be jealous, that is a fact. If you are the one jealousy, seek counsel.
LOVE DOES NOT PARADE ITSELF --- LOVE IS NOT PUFFED UP
Pride goes before the fall. Joseph will tell you it is so. He got a coat of colors. Then he bragged on being daddy’s favorite. What did His brothers get? They got jealous. Remember the son? He got a robe, a ring and feast with the fatten calf. What did the elder brother get, he too got jealous. He also got mad. In our flesh nature, many of us our boasters. The word of God encourages us, if you are going to boast, boast in the Lord. For He has done the mighty deeds through us not we, ourselves. Too much boasting, even if we are boasting in the Lord, can come across as pride and conceit.
DOES NOT BEHAVE RUDELY
The more I live with my man; the more I realize that Men are from Mars and women are Venus. Pat and I are from different planet. If we women were to compare notes, we would find that all men are alike. I think it is the big T they wear across their DNA. T is for Testosterone that is. Yet, they are also different. My mom was Emily Post complete with the manners Manuel. We were instructed form this piece of work from morning until night. I still hold this book in high esteem as well as girls raised in the south, better known as GRITS. Manners count so much that my whole ministry is about accessorize with virtue. No rude welcome, yet rude seems to happen without even trying .I think that hidden in each of our hearts lies the manner Manuel. We differ almost daily as to what rude is and to what it is not. Maybe rude is a personal preference. We differ on everything from what a good tip is, to the need for a thank you note to an idea for an approite present. To each his own! Love is not rude. My advice is be a student of your guy. Learn his likes and his dislikes. The wise advice from Alice Hunt, “I do not be a good wife to man, I only need to be a good wife to Grand chuck.” You have one love to love. Love him well. You can teach old dogs new tricks but they are not guaranteed to perform them all.
LOVE IS NOT EASILY PROVOKED
If a husband or wife stores up grievances or tucks into their heart each offense as it happens under the file, I will never forget this. Guess what happens. If the one stuffs anger, past hurts, disappointments, or wrongs done to them alone, Guess what happens? When you least expect it you are elected to be the recipient of a volcanic explosion. Yes, and let me tell you more. Within this lava flow is everything that has wounded them past, present and possibly future. This unexpected explosion is guaranteed to burn the heart of the person it is directed towards when it blows. It has just been waiting for the right moment to Go Forth and There She blows. Not only is that but between the hurts and the explosion while lava is building to a peak a craters building between you and your mate. Avoid storing bitterness at all costs try to keep all in the light. Instead of holding hurts; journal hurt. Talk about practical solutions to avoid the Einstein theory becoming a reality. Avoid retaliation. Remember shunning or avoiding spouse has no place in a marriage. A heart when hurt needs to be mended quickly or the lava will begin to multiply. Remember wounded people wound people. Keep your heart in right relationship with God Love does not rejoice in wrongs done but always rejoices in the truth.
LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS.
LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS.
LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS. LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS.
HOW? You might be asking yourself? How in the world can I do that? How can I ever live in love with my husband all the days of our lives? Didn’t you listen to my talk? You can’t! In fact sometimes it is impossible to live in love with your husband even for one day. Let’s face it ladies sometimes it is impossible to live with ourselves even for one day. It is like mission impossible. Well then, what is a woman to do?
I learned this lesson long time ago. Frequently I have to remind myself. This is the lesson…. In God alone, I place my trust. In God alone I place my trust. I place my trust in God alone. The walk begins alone in prayer. The walk proceeds alone following our Savior. The walk ends alone when we see Him face to face in glory. We must get to know Jesus Christ. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to serve Him and to serve Him is to be happy one day in heaven. When you seek Him, you will find Him, when you seek Him with your whole heart. Apart from Him you can do nothing. Then Good News is you can do all things through Christ who strengthened you. Nothing is impossible with our Savior Jesus Christ. The prayer of our hearts must be as the song goes...” All I want is to know Jesus Christ and the power of His rising.”
Every time I give a talk I realize how far short I come and what a long way I have to go. Do you remember the old song…? The words go like this… “Between the cross and heaven there’s a whole lot of living going on. It is so true. We must not only know the truth and of course, “Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.” We must live the trust. Each time we put the word of God into action, it becomes a part of us. If we just read all about it; we may grow in knowledge however, what we read remains just words on a page. Let us not just look into the mirror of our hearts see the reflection and then just walk away the same. We will just prove how true the words of Einstein were. NO CHANGE= NO CHANGE!! No rather, we must all do something different if we want our marriages to be different. No rather let us take the time to:
• Stop and see where we have been.
• Look at where we are
• Listen to God’s still small voice directing us to where He wants us to go.
• Let us try to bring our marriages from a 2, to a 10, or from a 10 to a Perfect 10!!
Our love which began with a knock at the door of my heart had stood the test of time. We have lived our marriage vows. It has been a journey of good times as well as bad, walking together thru sickness, and in health. Renewing our vows daily for richer or for poorer, and committing to stay together, until death do we part. We have walked hand in hand whether we were climbing a mountainous trial, or sitting in the sunshine of blessings. It has been the adventure of a lifetime. I think that our vows say it best:
There has been a bucket full of grace on our marriage from the day we said, “I Do!” I would love to proclaim that our marriage has been smooth sailing all along as we danced under the moonlight with wine, roses and a song, along with kisses that never ended. However it would not be true. The decision we made on the wedding day to love each other no matter what, has guided us thru valleys of despair and to mountaintops of great joy. No matter what; we face life together. Patrick will always take my breath away!
Before I close, I have to give an exhortation. If you have a wounded marriage, a marriage where there has been infidelity, abandonment, abuse or unfaithfulness of any kind including pornography healing is needed. Wounded people wound people, and you cannot pull that little red wagon with your husband in it. It is too heavy. Jesus loves you very much. He says in His word, “He is near to the broken hearted. “ He does not say, “It is Ok to break someone’s heart. Life can be tough, and things can be hard. Only Jesus can heal us or our husband’s on the inside. There is a time to change, a time to pray and a time to get counseling.
There will be prayer at the end of the meeting. Those who need prayer be sure and ask me. The intercessors will be glad to pray. Prayer is always good. But those who are I a marriage situation that is not healthy need to seek spiritual direction from their clergy. They are way more qualified for marriages in a crisis. There is a ministry called retroutrove available. There is also Marriage Encounter. Lastly, Aiken has a group called FAM.
Never forget; God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called together for His purposes. Let us close by all reading 1 Corinthians 13 from the poster