Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 1 January 2013
Page 11

Reflections on Marriage

E. Dean Kelly

Dean Kelly

This is not a dissertation of great research. This is not a pontification of how marriage should be done. This is a recording of observations that I have made from watching those who are married, and from about 37 years of being married. I do not know what the “experts” would say on these matters (i.e. those who are more involved in attempting to do research than in real life experiences), but I hope these very random thoughts might help one person who is thinking about getting married, one couple who is looking to marry or maybe some who are already married.

Marriage is perfect in its imperfections. Marriage was ordained by God. He brought Eve to Adam from his side to complete him. As we often say in wedding ceremonies, Jesus did His first miracle at a wedding. The point is that He was there, and by His presence endorsed marriage. The writer of Hebrews (I believe it was Paul, in any case by the Holy Spirit) states that marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled. All of this shows that it is perfect in its conception and design by God. However, since marriage is between two humans, it is also imperfect. The beauty of the imperfection is that it gives both partners in the marriage the opportunity to grow – together.

I know that neither my wife nor I are perfect. Yet, we fit together very well, and as the years have gone by, we have drawn closer together in thought and action. There is no doubt that I make a ton of mistakes as a husband. There is no doubt that I act thoughtlessly from time to time. Sometimes, I wonder if I could live with me, if I had a choice. Still, in the imperfection of our humanness, we have learned to be patient, to love each other, no matter what. Our love is not based on the other one always doing the right thing, always saying the appropriate thing or always knowing what to do. We love each other in spite of our failures, and we work together to make life better.

One side note: Don’t ask me what is imperfect about my wife. I have a rule that the only person I talk to about any problem I have with my wife is her. If it is not big enough to talk to her about, I will certainly not talk to anyone else about it. One of the things that leads to affairs, in my unprofessional opinion, is when an individual begins to talk to an individual of the opposite gender about problems within his or her marriage. (I exclude the rare occasion where someone may need professional help with a relationship, and thankfully I have never experienced that). I hope that I never talk about my wife in a negative way in public, and I will not tolerate anyone else doing so!

Communication is not always easy, but it is an imperative. The fact is that it is not simply a truism; it is indeed a fact that marriage lives or dies on communication. I have always said that some unsuccessful marriages end in divorce, and some last till death. I know that the first thing we should list that makes a marriage successful is when two people truly learn to love each other. God has commanded that we love each other (Ephesians 5). However, just as John admonishes brethren not to love in word, but to love in deed and in truth, we need to understand that love is not living and strong unless it does something. I believe that communication is the lifeline to keeping love alive and vibrant.

I know that mates are going to argue. After all, they are “two” trying to become “one.” I know that mates are going to become angry with one another. No one can make you as angry as your mate can. I believe that is because what your mate feels, thinks and does matters more to you than what anyone else feels, thinks or does. I know that sometimes we are going to talk, to say what we ought not to say, to speak in anger – and that those things are not true communication.

Communication is not saying everything that pops into one’s mind. Communication is the true effort to find out what our mate feels, and to express to them what we feel. Communication is not just “listen to me!” It is “what do you think!” Communication is trying to put ourselves in the other one’s place and to try to understand what he or she sees, feels and hears. True love cannot flourish unless we learn to truly communicate.

Children do not ruin your life; they enhance your life. Let me note at the outset that I do not for a minute believe that everyone who gets married is required to have children. I am sure that newly married couples can get tired of hearing, “When are you two gonna start a family?” I realize that when two get married, they have started a family, whether they have children or not. On the other hand, I am afraid that some have developed the concept that having children “ruins your life.” My contention is that having children can enhance your life. The Psalmist says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed” (Psalms 127:3-4).

Does having children change your life? Yes, it does, but if you have love in your hearts, having children makes your life even fuller and more complete. It is not easy – don’t get me wrong. It is a wonderful experience, fraught with much laughter, joy and pride – along with tears, weariness and disappointments. In the end, having children is like a microcosm of life. It is an ever-changing struggle that is so worth it in the end. If you don’t want to have children, don’t. Only those who desire the special joys of fatherhood and motherhood need to have children, but don’t decide not to have children based on a false idea. Children do not ruin your life, unless you are too selfish to care about them; they enhance your life.

Finally, marriage is a flowing river of change. Usually, a couple joins together in marriage at a young age. They are often not much more than children themselves. As time goes by, the days and years of life flow by. A married couple will never again step in the same water of the river, even if they return to the same spot. Each stage of life has its own impact on life. For my wife and me, life has changed drastically in the nearly 37 years we have been married. We have lived many places and seen many things. We have gone from a young married couple, to parents and now to grandparents. We have determined that we will enjoy every stage for its own pleasures. We have enjoyed the journey.

I do not know what the future holds. I do know that, just as I have shared the ride for all these years, hand in hand with the love of my life, we will continue on together in the future adventures of life together, as long as the Lord allows us to both live. For that I thank God every day.

Claims for Inspiration

Roy J. Hearn (deceased)

Foy J. HearnBefore citing biblical claims to inspiration, it might be good to acquaint the reader with what is called “Higher Criticism” and “Lower Criticism.” The first may imply it is better, but not so. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states: “Higher criticism… manifestly tends to widen out illimitably into regions where exact science cannot follow it, where often, the critic’s imagination is his only law.” Higher criticism is obviously not concerned with the accuracy of the biblical text and would contribute to destruction of faith in the Bible. Lower criticism, on the other hand, “…deals strictly with the text of Scripture, endeavouring to ascertain what the real text of each book was as it came from the hands of the author” (I.S.B.E. 749).

“Higher criticism,” it seems, has been given impetus by infidel German theologians and philosophers. The term Higher Criticism was given by a German biblical critic, Eichorn, about the beginning of the nineteenth century. The reader can easily see that “Lower Criticism” is much more valuable than “Higher Criticism” in that this science seeks to give us the true text, whereas the former would destroy such. In view of the fact that even some among us, so-called Gospel preachers and professors of the Bible, have become so enamored with the false critics as to deny the verbal inspiration of the Bible, class parts as inaccurate, thereby affecting the faith of many and leading many into error, it is in order to continually warn and to uphold the inerrancy of proper translations of the Bible. Now, let us observe that God did not just give the Bible writers an idea or thought and let them write of their own volition, but the Holy Spirit gave the actual words they were to use. No writer of the Bible ever claimed credit for originating his writings, nor does one ever find any mere human production claiming such inspiration as does the Bible. More than two thousand times such statements as follows are found in the Bible.

The apostle Paul made it clear that what he spoke and wrote were not the words of men: “If any man think himself to be a prophet… let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:27). “…[W]hen ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God…” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Even the Lord Jesus Christ never presumed to speak of Himself, but said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father gave me commandment, what I should say and what I should speak” (John 12:49). The apostles were told not to “premeditate” what they should speak, “for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11). The Scriptures are called “the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2), “the word of God” (Luke 8:11), “The word of the Lord” (Acts 13:48) or “The word of Christ” (Colossians 3:16); the apostles spoke “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:7, 11). Now, observe claims in the Old Testament.

God promised to be with Moses and “teach thee what thou shalt speak” (Exodus 4:10-12). Even Balaam said, “Told not I thee, saying All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do?” (Numbers 22:38; 23:36). David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). Jeremiah wrote, “And the Lord said unto me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth” (Jeremiah 1:6-10). Nearly one hundred times Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came unto me” or in other ways declared he uttered “the word of the living God.” Isaiah 1:10 says, “Hear the word of the Lord…,” and no fewer than twenty times did he so declare that what he spoke were God’s words, not his. God testified “by the Spirit in the prophets” to Israel (Nehemiah 9:20, 30). Second Peter 1:21 declares, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” About sixty times Ezekiel said what he wrote are the “words of God.” “Son of man, all my words that I speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 3:10-11).

Keep in mind, well over 2,000 times are such expressions used showing that the words of the Bible came from God, not from any man. The apostle Paul summed up the whole matter in these words: “Which thing also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Corinthians 2:13). So we can join the peerless apostle in saying, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

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