til death do us part

WARNING: this will not be a cheery holiday post

ANOTHER WARNING: if you’re married, you need to read this

in nearly 25 years of ministry, i don’t think i’ve seen a year like it. maybe as we get older, each year takes on some kind of theme over the 12-month span. i don’t know. but i do know that if 2009 has had a theme, it has been the year of broken marriages. from january to december, i have seen too many marriages struggle, stray, fray, bend and break. dammit!

i’m no dr. phil. i don’t have any special training when it comes to marriage. i don’t do marriage counseling because there are far too many professionals out there who do it far better than i do. but there aren’t many who are more passionate about it than me. i love my marriage, i love being married, i love seeing other strong marriages. and i’m really tired of seeing unfaithfulness and brokenness in marriage. i think it’s because God feels the same way.

there are a handful of great theological truths in the first two chapters of the bible, but none as vivid as God’s design for a man and a woman in a godly marriage. it’s almost as if all of creation was designed for these 2 people. earth and sky and water and animals and plants and sun and moon – all wedding gifts for this first happy couple. not to mention God’s constant presence. and a request to listen to him.

there’s the issue. listening to HIM. as i think about the marital brokenness i’ve seen around me this year, in one way or another, it always come back to that.

God loves marriage. it was his idea. and though sin has damaged it in devastating ways, he hasn’t given up on it. in fact, it is probably the most beautiful image of the gospel in all the bible. Jesus the bridegroom, his church the bride. i’m certain that when you said your “i do’s” before your spouse, God was cheering you on nearly as excitedly as when one repents and makes Jesus lord and savior.

and God lets us know in no uncertain terms that he loves marriage. he makes serious comments throughout his word. we need to be listening… (click to read)

You were made for marriage


God is serious about marriage


Jesus is serious about marriage


Divorce is not a godly option


How to keep your marriage strong

we sing a song fairly often these days at Threshold, called Hosanna. there is a line in that song that gets to me every time: break my heart for what breaks yours.

i think God is answering this prayer in me as my heart breaks for broken marriages and families. because it does indeed break his heart.

i can’t encourage you enough to work hard on your marriage. make it your top priority: above job. above money. above kids. it needs to come second only to your own relationship with God. this year, this month, give a renewed commitment to your marriage as your christmas gift to your spouse and family. it’ll be the best gift you ever gave.

if your marriage is in trouble, i want to see you get help and get strong. i am happy to meet with the two of you once, to pray with you, to encourage you, and to get you the help you need. i am committed to the health of your marriage, because it’s vital for you and because there is nothing human in all the earth that brings greater glory to God than a strong, Christ-centered marriage! you were created in God’s image. you were created to reflect that image, especially in your marriage!

– to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do us part. This is my solemn vow. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(traditional wedding vows)

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6 Responses to til death do us part

  1. Cheri Maisel says:

    Totally on the same page with you. I can’t imagine days without sharing life in marriage. Our home is so blessed to have David who is such a pillar of faith and the glue that keeps our family together.

  2. Craig Padilla says:

    Very very well put Jeff. I can hear the hurt that you feel in the words that you wrote. In 20 days Wendy and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I can’t wait for the next 20 years. I could not imagine not being married to Wendy. We are best of friends. We love being with each other. It doesn’t matter if its watching football or going to a arts & craft show we want to be together. As you know the last four years that we have gone through, not once was there ever a thought that we would go through it without each other. It only made our marriage stronger. We have done the “for better or worse” “for richer or poorer” “in sickness and in health” we have “loved and cherished”. Death will be our only “do us part”. I thank GOD every day for angel he choose for me 22 years ago.

    Jeff thanks for telling us all what we need to hear versus what we think we want to hear. I pray that every couple going through rocky times can get the help they need. I will close with MARRIAGE ROCKS!!!!!! GOD BLESS

  3. Steve Groves says:

    Thanks Jeff for the reminder how important it is work on your marriage. Love is more (much more) than a feeling, true love is a commitment, and commitments are hard. Putting time and energy towards protecting and strengthing your marriage not only makes your marriage better, it honors God.

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