Tuesday, March 14, 2006
From now on, it will be hard to think of New Orleans without thinking of the awful tragedies that followed the devastating wind and waves of Hurricane Katrina. There was, of course, plenty of finger-pointing as to who was to blame for those tragedies. And subsequent revelations showed that there seemed to be plenty of blame to go around at all levels. But one fact is clear: the single greatest cause of death in New Orleans' darkest days came not so much from the storm but from the levees that could not hold back the waters of the storm. The walls around New Orleans just weren't strong enough to withstand a high-magnitude storm.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Build a Storm-Proof Marriage."
It takes strong walls to protect a city that can be overwhelmed by major storms; or a marriage, for that matter. And there may have never been a time when more severe storms have threatened our marriages. We're busier than ever, often to the point of neglecting the person who matters most. We're bombarded with temptations that threaten the purity of our marriage relationship. The temptations and needs and pressures in our children's lives can drain the energy our marriage requires. The toll the storms can take are documented in the staggering number of marriages that have collapsed or are quickly deteriorating.
We have to build some very strong walls around our marriage to keep it from being inundated due to levee failure. Our word for today from the Word of God, Malachi 2:15, says this about God's view of our marriages: "Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth." Or the husband of your youth, for that matter.
How can we do that? For starters, we can build five walls that to keep your marriage strong. Each marriage "levee" can be summed up in the form of five ironclad commitments that can protect your lifetime love. Wall #1 - No Other Passion. You make a choice that you will direct all your desire to one person and one person alone - your marriage partner. No wandering eye, no fantasies about other people. In the words of Proverbs 5:18-19, "Rejoice with the wife of your youth ... let her breasts satisfy you at all times." Notice: "Let her" be enough. Before God, you choose to focus all your passions, all your needs on one person. Focused passion breeds fulfilling love. "No other passion." It's a strong wall around your marriage.
Wall #2 - No More Important Voice. You pledge that no other voice on earth will be more important to you than that of your lifetime love. For a man, God says, "Husbands, ought to love their wives as their own bodies" ( Ephesians 5:28). When you really listen and really respond to the person you're married to, you really, really love them.
Wall #3 commits to No Accumulating Anger - "Do not let the sun go down on your anger" ( Ephesians 4:26), as the Bible says. Nothing is worth being angry about tomorrow. Harbored anger turns into growing resentment that becomes cancer in a marriage.
Wall #4 - No Reckless Words. Proverbs 12:18 says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword," and Scripture commands husbands to "love your wives and do not be harsh with them" ( Colossians 3:19). Reckless words that you spew in the heat of conflict or frustration, leave lasting scars and they punch major holes in the walls around a marriage.
Wall #5 to protect your marriage says, "No Back Door." "I will not even consider ending our marriage as one of my options." The moment you leave that door open, you make it likely you will ultimately use that door to destroy your marriage. Jesus said, "What God has joined together, let man not separate" ( Mark 10:9). And in Malachi 2:16, God bluntly says, "I hate divorce."
No other passion, no more important voice, no accumulating anger, no reckless words, no back door: five commitments - five walls to protect your marriage from the storms that could destroy it. Build those walls high, build them strong. That kind of love is more powerful than any storm.