(Dr.Bing shares some thoughts on a wedding day:)
One of my favorite authors, G. K. Chesterton, said that:
Travel narrows the mind.
This is the opposite of what I would have imagined. I would have thought that traveling to new places would expand our horizons. No, Chesterton warned, when we think of visiting a foreign place, we think of it idealistically and it has a romantic image in our mind. But when we actually visit and see how they live, he says, unless we are very humble, we will put them down in our mind’s eye and think of ourselves as superior. Their foibles and shortcomings strike us in the face and if we are not careful we will come away thinking of ourselves higher than we ought to think.
Marriage is the same way. Countless husbands and wives have told me of their regret on getting married. From a far off distant land, marriage looks like heaven on earth: a male and female, a bride and a groom, who love each other imagining in their minds’ eye coming together in wedded bliss, their tenderness and love will conquer all.
And then they get married.
Okay. So now what? If you are not careful marriage will narrow your mind. And your heart. And your spirit. Bitterness and resentment are brother and sister in many marriages. You will discover soon enough that your husband has feet of clay and her love isn’t all that you’d thought. Dangit. How could I have been so blind? She never told me that? He promised me he’d never do…. I can’t believed you’d…. You got to be kidding me?!! I have to put up with this the rest of my life?
Well, yeah. Yes, you do. Your vows said,
Sickness and health, rich or poor.
I hope your own vows have something like that in them. Cuz, baby, your marriage is gonna have some sickness and poor parts. Sometimes it’ll seem like that’s all you have. But, you know, that’s Okay. The Bible says
Through much tribulation do we enter the kingdom of God.
The rain falls on the rich and the poor, the righteous and the unrighteous.
And as the Bard you quoted said real love
bears out even to the edge of doom.
The rain is gonna fall. Anticipate it. Rejoice in it. Crops can’t grow without it. Without rain we’d all be dead. James, the brother of Jesus, writes in the New Testament:
Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter trials of various kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance have it’s perfect work so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The problems you face today prepare you to face the problems you will face tomorrow. There will be problems. Count on it. You take your problems and you learn from them, you grow, you stretch, you change and you become transformed, ever so slightly and slowly into the persons and couple God wants you to be.
If you will let Him.
If you will learn from your mistakes.
Let the problems bring you together INSTEAD and tackle them.
We would not have the bridges we have today, masterpieces of astounding engineering, unless other bridges had fallen down. The question is asked after a bridge collapses: why did this bridge fail? And the next bridge is stronger and withstands more pressure and lasts longer because mistakes were made, lessons learned and new principles discovered and applied.
Imagine running a marathon but never having prepared for it. Certainly you would die by sheer exhaustion. No, the runner knows that in order to prepare for the race, it will take months of regular and rigorous training to be ready for if. For elite athletes this training will take years.
In marriage the training for life takes years. Each of you has had your training in your family of origin and for this you can be thankful. Your individual backgrounds bring freshness and a new voice to each other that neither would have ever considered without this new whisper in your ear. Today you continue this training for your marriage. Your training will be rigorous. But your must endure. Count it all joy. Learn to take your problems and turn them into blessings.
So count it all joy when you encounter various trials. Laugh at your problems. Face them together. Learn, stretch, cajole, tease, flirt, lighten the burdens of your life by seeing the guidance of God, gently leading you, teaching you, producing in you a heart of wisdom and humility before His Throne and before each other. Neither of you know everything. You both are smart. You both know things the other does not. Rejoice, therefore, when you disagree. Embrace the disagreements. Navigate them. Without the disagreements and the weighing of weighty matters you will never get through the rocky harbors.
But with eyes on both sides of the ship you will make it. One of you looks on this side and says, “Watch out here!” And the other says, “No, look over there!” And the other says, “No, there!” And the other says, “Oh! I see it!!”
It’ll be worth it. And in the end, the wisdom of your spouse will cause you to say:
Many spouses have done well, but you excel them all.
Be humble, therefore, enough to listen. Be humble enough to learn from each other. I pray for you, that marriage will NOT narrow your mind.