February is known for its special celebrations or holidays. Last year, British Columbia decided to create a Civic Holiday called Family Day, falling on the second Monday in February. The rest of the provinces hold it on the third Monday of the month. But the busiest day of the month for restaurants and florist shops is Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day. We are encouraged to show that person in our life – whether husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend – that we love them by taking them out for a meal, or buying flowers, a card or chocolates. It is often a day when couples will become engaged.
Today, more and more couples are living together rather than getting married. In our society, marriage has been damaged by the growing rates of divorce.
One definition of marriage someone has said, is this: “Marriage is like a fly on a screen door – those on the inside want out, and those on the outside want in”. This is not God’s definition, and not the way God views marriage. Genesis 2: 24 says, “For this reason a man shall leave father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” So then, in marriage the equation goes like this: 1 + 1 = 1. It is a commitment to work together, to learn together, to grow together, and to struggle together – until one partner dies.
Too many couples – when it gets really tough – separate or divorce. There is help out there for couples who are struggling in their marriages. One such book is called, “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. This book is geared to help those couples who think there are no answers left for their marriage. It also a good book for any couple that wants to improve their marriage.
The Bible, in Ephesians 5:33, commands men to love their wife for that is what she desires. The wives are commanded to respect their husbands – which is what he desperately needs. But where couples struggle the most is in the way they communicate. Dr. Eggerichs says, “Men and women are different, and men often hear and see through blue glasses and hearing aids. Women often see and hear through pink glasses and hearing aids. We are wired differently and assume the other person understood what we were saying, but the result often shows that they did not.”
I challenge all couples who are struggling in their marriage to seek out help from a counsellor or pastor, or find a good book on marriage. It is not wrong to ask for help – for many times we cannot see the real problem because we are too close to it. Proverbs 15:22 – “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Jesus says in Matthew 19: 5, 6 – he quotes first from Genesis 2: 24 – “For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. So then they are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man separate.” God’s ideal plan for marriage is for a lifelong journey together. But when divorce or separation occurs there is a lot of pain experienced by the couple and the children involved.
For all those couples out there who have been on this wonderful journey of being married – and still growing through it – thank you for not giving up. For all those widows or widowers who had many good years of marriage before your partner died – thank God for the memories.
Victor Koop is pastor of Sage Hills Evangelical Free Church in Ashcroft