What is This Thing Called Love?
1: Love is more than a fine feeling. It is an act of the will, a choice to always show up and act in your spouse’s best interest.
2: Marriage is the most concentrated form of human relationship.
3: Remember that history began in a garden with a wedding between Adam and Eve. Jesus began his public ministry at a wedding in Cana where he worked his first miracle. Afterward, he began to call himself the groom, the church his bride. And Revelation 19 teaches that history will be consummated at the Second Coming when Jesus comes for his bride. Marriage is thus the little relationship that points to the greater one. It is therefore sacred.
4: The strongest man in the world was Samson. His downfall was a wrong relationship with the woman Delilah. The wisest man who ever lived was Solomon. His downfall? He wed over 1,000 women and they turned his heart from the Lord. The holiest man ever was David, “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet it was his downfall to commit adultery with Bathsheba. Now, if the holiest, wisest, and strongest people in the world struggled with their sexual, relational identity, do you think we who are not so wise, strong, and holy might be struggling too?
5: Notice an interesting order in Old Testament books: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Psalms: 150 yearnings about our worship of God. Proverbs: the struggle to live decently among people—31 chapters. Ecclesiastes: on the weariness and futility of life, this writer is all but cynical. Now comes The Song of Solomon on the sweetness of married love. In a world where we struggle to know God, live among people, and deal with the harsh realities of life, we can have the comforts of marriage.
6: The first negative statement in the Bible is when God said, “It is not good for the man to live alone.” Then God promises, “I will make a helper fit for him.” All the man had to do was sleep, to wait, until God was ready, and the woman was brought to him in God’s providence (Genesis 2). So you see, we do not need to be overly eager, to go out and force matters, to throw ourselves at another.
7: A man and a woman are not fit for marriage until they find their security and significance in God. To look for it in one another is idolatry.
8: Marriage is like putting a man and a woman in a room together and locking all the doors and windows. The two have a great time together until the room catches on fire and fills with smoke. The natural tendency is to smash a window and cut and run in separate directions. But what would happen if the two stayed in the room and put out the fire? Then the two used their good sense to fix things so the room would not burn down for that reason again. Good marriages fix things when they go broken. They do not just throw things away.
9: In Genesis 2 God formed man of clay, put His lips on Adam’s face and blew breath into him. Adam opened his eyes and saw God face to face. Then God said, “It is not good man live alone. I will make a helper fit to be before him.” Literally, face to face! The same position God was in with Adam at Creation we assume in sex with our spouse—–lip to lip, face to face. Ah, such mystery! The little relationship that points to the greater!
10: My virginity is my way of showing my wife or my husband that I loved her/him even before we met.
How Can I Be Sure?
11: Lust can’t wait to get Love can’t wait to give.
12: Take off running after Jesus for all you are worth! If you feel the need to wed, look around you for someone keeping up. Then you can invite them to run toward Jesus with you in matrimony.
13: Marry in haste, repent at leisure.
14: Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterward.
15: You can’t make up for in later training what you should have accomplished in selectivity in the first place.
16: Love is best when it is a good friendship that has caught fire.
17: The Old Testament teaches that a wise man first establishes a growing relationship with God, then he begins his career, builds a house, and finally decides to marry. His home is thus built on a sound foundation of God, job, house, and wife. Jesus Christ follows this same order. In the temptation story He chose God. From the cross He said of his life work, “It is finished.” Now, according to John 14, He is building a house for us. And soon He will come for us as a groom does his bride. Marriage is stressful enough. So build a strong foundation first.
18: It is better to live without what you want than to have to live with what you don’t want.
19: It is not a question of how old I have to be to start dating, but how mature must I be. Two things we must look for: Am I strong enough to stand alone and not give in to peer pressure, and do I value my body as God does?
20: We men should so date, or court, that if and when we break up, we do not leave a girlfriend behind, emotionally crippled with our fingerprints all over her.
21: Stay single until you meet someone with whom your life can mean more for Jesus married than it can as a single.
22: A good marriage is not finding the right person so much as it is being the right person.
23: Ask yourself when dating, if my date cannot control his sex drive, what else might he not be able to control? His temper? His money? His ambition? And what makes me think if he is willing and eager to be immoral with me now that he won’t be immoral with others after we are married? Do you really want to risk being married for life to a person so out of control?
24: A good marriage is not something one finds; rather, it is something you build. Is my love good marriage building material?
25: Let God make a man out of him before you make a husband out of him.
26: The six-foot rule: Can you and your love spend the evening together on a sofa six feet apart, no TV, no radio, no computer—just each other, talking, listening, enjoying each other’s company? Good friends do good marriages make.
27: If something he does before you marry irritates you, it will be magnified in marriage.
28: Before you wed, ask yourself: Do I want to look at this person across the breakfast table every day for the rest of my life?
29: Before you wed, ask yourself: Is my love alive and maturing spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, willfully, socially, and physically?
30: Before you wed, check to see if your intended can give nurture as well as receive it. This is symbolized in the wedding cake ceremony in which groom and bride both cut a slice of wedding cake and feed one another. “I will nurture you. And yes, I will receive from you spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, willfully, socially, and physically.”
31: Before you wed, ask yourself this. Do I want to see my love’s character reproduced in my children?
32: Before you wed, ask yourself: Are we vocationally compatible? Do I want to spend my life like that?
33: Before you wed, ask yourself: Am I willing to follow this person’s leadership?
34: Want to see how your love will treat you after you settle down in marriage? Look at how they treat their parents.
35: Before you wed, ask yourself: Am I mature enough to make good decisions, then stick with them when life becomes difficult?
36: You do not marry the man or woman alone. They come with in-laws, often with brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Do you desire to be a part of this family?
37: Nobody works as hard for money as he who marries for it.
38: You know you are in love when you are more interested in meeting the needs of your love than you are in having them meet your own needs.
The Honeymoon Years
39: Nothing is more erotic than two virgins coming together on their honeymoon.
40: After a man marries, he shows how much of a man he is by how well he can nourish his wife to the full bloom of her femininity.
41: If you treat her like a queen, you’ll get to be the king.
42: Marriage was meant for the Garden of Eden. But we do not live in the garden paradise anymore. So when we are married now we try to live the ideal relationship in a less than ideal world. So there will be conflict. But conflict is good when it calls attention to broken things so we can fix them.
43: Do I know how to ask, What does my spouse need me to be in this moment?
44: No one married for more than a year ever considered their marriage a fairy tale.
45: Practice saying, “I could be wrong. I’m willing to listen.”
46: Love flourishes when the lovers love many things together, not merely each other.
47: Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson on why he was wed in a ballpark at home plate: “My wife wanted a big diamond.” Always remember to surprise your wife with a gift however small, a romantic evening, and such.
48: You do not marry one person, but three: the person you think they are, the person they really are, and most of all, the person they become because they live with you.
49: A marriage without laughter is like a car without shock absorbers. There is a disagreeable jolt over every bump in life. Learn to laugh. And do so often.
50: It’s a good habit to read a good book about marriage each year. Then discuss it together.
51: Life is a process. Maturity comes three steps forward and two backwards. When you in anger cry “Why don’t you grow up!” you damage your mate’s feelings.
52: Marriage teaches you loyalty, humility, patience, sacrifice, understanding, perseverance— and a lot of other things you wouldn’t need to know if you stayed single.
53: Catch your spouse in the act of doing something right.
54: Adultery? Why should I go out for hamburger when I have steak at home?
55: Keep short accounts. The Bible says, “Let not the sun go down on your anger.”
56: There is great dignity in living within your means.
57: If she has a problem, you have a problem. Take her seriously.
58: Never criticize your mate for an unchangeable feature.
59: Don’t tell others of your arguments or fight. They take sides and when you’ve forgiven your spouse, they haven’t.
60: What blood is to the body, communication is to love.
61: Banish the word divorce from your vocabulary. Just as you board an airliner without a parachute and commit to the flight, so marriage is a total commitment without a parachute, “For better or for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then We Come With…..a Baby Carriage!
62: The most God-like act of which man is capable is parenthood, for we create with God, suffer with God, nurture with God, hope with God, and learn to forgive with God.
63: Every bride and groom should remember the vows to God and promises made to their spouse in the worship wedding ceremony. If these promises are broken, something will break in your heart, something will break in your spouse’s heart, something horribly breaks in your children’s lives, something breaks in society, and finally, something breaks in the great heart of God.
64: We think of marriage as a box full of everything we so much want: companionship, sexual satisfaction, someone to talk with… and if we just can just get into the box, we will be happy. The truth about marriage is the box is empty. The only thing in it is what husband and wife bring with them. But here is good news: If you are married and do not find in the box what you need, go get it and bring it home.
65: Join a Bible study about marriage together or separately, or both. It will keep you accountable.
66: Ladies, you know that your honeymoon is over when he takes you off a pedestal and puts you on a budget.
67: Live with your wife so that when someone compliments you by saying, “I’d give everything to have a marriage like that!” You can quietly say, “I did.”
68: The best thing Dad can do for his children is love their mother.
69: If you reach an impasse on a marital issue, go to a counselor together. And go happily. For going says We are worth it!
70: Marriage is the most expensive way to discover your faults.
71: Just as you tune up your car, so a good marriage conference can keep your marriage in tune.
72: A small boy to his sister as both read their parents’ old love letters found in the attic: “These aren’t the names they call each other now.”
73: Fatigue is the enemy of the home. A good marriage must learn to do the important things and leave undone the trivial.
74: Good marriages breathe. To keep a fire going, keep the logs near enough to each other to share a flame but far enough apart for breathing room.
75: The television set can turn the family circle into a semi-circle.
76: Your ability to say yes to greater things as a couple is directly related to your ability to say no to lesser things.
77: There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.
Holding On to Romance
78: Leo Tolstoy observed, “Happy marriages are all alike. But every unhappy marriage is unhappy in its own way.” Clearly, there are principals of lasting, enjoyable marriages. Look for them, pray for them. Inquire of others. When you find one, build it into your lives together.
79: A man shouldn’t get so busy earning his salt he neglects his sugar.
80: In Shakespeare’s play As You Like It he writes, “Men are April when they woo, December when they wed.” But it doesn’t have to be. You can both work hard to keep romance alive by having at least a date each week, even if it’s a walk alone.
81: Never wistfully compare your spouse with another.
82: There are no hopeless marriages, only those where spouses have given up.
83: Do not fight to win. Fight to resolve the matter in a win/win manner.
84: A good marriage requires falling in love over and over again—but always with the same person.
85: When two people live together and never disagree, one of them is not necessary.
86: A man should spend as much energy keeping his wife as he did winning her in the first place.
87: Learn the power of small, unexpected gifts. When it is not her birthday or your anniversary or even Christmas, buy her a barrette for her hair. Say, “I saw this in a shop window. It was lovely and I thought of you.”
88: Ladies, speak well of your husband to others. If you tell your mom and friends what he does wrong, they’ll tell everyone else. His stock goes down in the family and community, and you live with a man you’ve torn down. His business or job can suffer, his self-esteem goes flat, and he doesn’t trust you.
89: Always open the car door for your wife. Especially long after you are married. Most men don’t do this (and she knows it).
90: A man must keep his marriage fresh.
91: Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
92: Most marriages are not wrecked by a blowout, but by a slow leak of continued negligence. The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay lamented, “‘Tis not love’s going that hurts my days/ But that it went in little ways.”
93: Always kiss me good night.
The Golden Years
94: A good spouse must be a lifelong learner.
95: Don’t say “you never” or “you always.” It’s not true.
96: Any fool can get married. And any martyr can grit his teeth and and endure a bad marriage. But living in a fulfilling marriage of love ought to rank among the fine arts.
97: A man marries a woman thinking she will never change, but she does. A woman marries a man thinking he will change, but he never does.
98: No matter what the fuss, what the betrayal or hurt, God can still meet us where we are and bring a blessing.
99: There will be days when you will wonder why “until death do us part” is taking so long.
100: Have you complimented your wife today?
101: There is nothing more fun than a woman!
102: God gave me my spouse because He thought I could be trusted with her care.
103: Make a person feel worthy and they will be worthy.
104: Love does not just sit there like a stone. It is dough that must be baked into bread every day.
105: If you’re not satisfied with what you got, you won’t be satisfied with what you’ll get.
106: The most romantic story in the world is not Romeo and Juliet who died young together, but Grandma and Papa who grew old together.
107: When you see a fulfilled elderly married couple at peace with a family of children and grandchildren, you know they kept their promises a long time to enjoy a moment like that.
108: Probably the last great thing a person will do is be a grandparent.