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We Can’t Buy God Off

A man came to me years ago distressed over his marriage. He had been unfaithful to his wife and she had discovered it. They were trying to put their marriage back together again and I was helping them. At the close of our initial conversation he told me that he had just bought his wife an expensive diamond ring for Christmas. And he wondered if he should give it to he...

One Thing Different

I once talked with a young man who had fought a serious alcohol problem in his life for years. He had at one point almost ruined his own life and the lives of the members of his family. As we talked the thought struck me, “If you removed just one thing from that boy’s life—alcohol—his life would have been entirely different.” When I share...

Who Got the Better Deal?

In 1986 Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid and social rights activist and Anglican bishop, recounted the story of the whites coming to South Africa. “When they came,” the bishop said, “the blacks had the land and the whites had the Bible.” Then, he said, the whites wanted to teach the blacks to pray. “So we bowed our heads and closed our eye...

America, the Finest

Karl F. Schmiedeke, during a visit to Pineville, North Carolina, stopped at the post office for stamps. “May I please have some pretty ones?” he asked. The clerk reached into the drawer, took out 10 stamps imprinted with the American flag, and slid them across the counter. “You can’t get any prettier than that,” he replied. If the astrona...

Despairing of Life

Some time ago a man just dropped in my office who obviously was despairing of life. It did not take long for me to know that he had virtually come to the end of his rope. He had no meaning, no purpose in existence. I had just been teaching to our church the Roman road of salvation and I decided that I would use that plan of salvation on him. I took that little book of...

Seeing Eye to Eye

I have a preacher friend who tells this story and I’m not sure that it’s true, but it is a good story and preachers don’t always tell the truth when they have a point they want to make. He said that there was a lady in his church who seemed to oppose him on every issue. It didn’t matter what he said, it didn’t matter what he presented to...

Junky Thinking

Jesse Jackson said some time ago that we sometimes allow our children to “eat junk and to watch junk and listen to junk and to play with junk and to talk junk, and then we wonder why they grow up to be social junkies.” To that I would add that we sometimes allow ourselves as well as our children to think junk. If we are continually focusing on junk in ever...

What to Say to a Lost Wor...

Henry David Thoreau once sat at Walden Pond watching a lineman string wires down the railroad. “What are you doing?” he inquired. The lineman replied, “We are building a telegraph system so the people of Maine can talk to the people of Texas.” Thoreau commented, “What if the people of Maine have nothing to say to the people in Texas or Te...

Rebellion Against God

A friend met another friend after many years of not seeing him. And she was surprised to learn he had left the pulpit to become a medical doctor. When she asked him about this he explained his actions in this way: “I have learned that people will pay more money for the care of their bodies than they will for the care of their souls.” Some time elapsed and...

Today's Devotional

Togetherness in Marriage

Celebrated English poet John Milton said, “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named not good.” There is a loneliness in us that only God can satisfy. But there is also a type of loneliness—a longing for togetherness—that only another can satisfy. We all need the togetherness that only another human can provide. Ruth expresses the kind of togetherness I am talking about when she said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

This was Ruth speaking to her mother-in-law, of course. But it is equally a statement of the complete togetherness that is to characterize marriage. In marriage we need to be together in the following ways:

1. Physically. “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” God’s plan for marriage is that we leave our father and our mother and be with our mate. This leaving is to be total so that the new relationship can be shared totally. You should leave your parents geographically (get out of their house), leave them economically (get out of their pocketbook), and leave them emotionally (get out of their hair).

2. Emotionally. “Thy people shall be my people.” Marriage is more than the blending of two lives, it is the blending of two families. You do marry a person’s family. If life is shared in the deepest sense, it must include a person’s family also.

3. Spiritually. “Thy God shall be my God.” There can be no complete togetherness without a sharing of your faith. Spiritual unity (i.e., being committed to Christ) is more important than denominational unity (i.e., being in the same church), but it is best when both are shared. Marriage is best when you can say, “Our Father, our house, our children, our church.”

4. Permanently. “Where thou diest, I will die.” Every day the distance time-wise between the marriage altar and the divorce court gets shorter and shorter. This ought not to be. It is God’s plan that two people be committed together for life. It is only when this is true that we find our highest fulfillment in marriage.

We should all work to strengthen togetherness in marriage. It is one of life’s greatest blessings.

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