Category: Marriage

The Redefining of Marriage in America

It’s a new day in the United States of America. For the first time in recorded national US history, in the eyes of the law, people of the same sex can get married. The US Supreme Court, the highest court in our grand land, decided by a narrow margin to say to the world, it’s okay. This is okay. We lit up the White House last night in a rainbow of colors to show support of this most monumental occasion.635709522838365094-AFP-542062575-74107136

I think of my grandfather, long gone now, and what he would say if he could come back and I were to tell him about this new turn of events. He’d say, “Well, I’ve never heard of such. A man wants to marry a man?” Those days are gone. This is a new America. A more accepting, less judgmental, forward thinking, progressive America than my grandfather knew.

And what of those, like say- Christians, who find this decision offensive and wrong? What if all they read in the truths of the scriptures leads them to find this is actually not okay according to God’s word? Well, they have been told that the law of the land will prevail over those ancient documents. Words written so long ago that they can in no way hold any real relevance to the situations societies face today. Anyone holding to those ancient ideas need only to set those aside and listen to intelligent reason to understand that the time has come for a new way of thinking. We must be inclusive and accepting of these new ideas.

New ideas? I don’t think so.

My daughter has some friends who are not Christ followers, but they like my daughter because she accepts them for who they are. They think that she is not judgmental and close-minded like most Christians they have met. It’s true. Laura is very accepting of others. She will rarely point a finger at them in judgment. What they don’t know is that Laura has an agenda. She loves them where they are, but she hopes to lead them to a better place in time.

We talked about her friends and how they think all Christians apart from Laura are judgmental and closed-minded. I told Laura that her friends are right. As Christians, we are those things. We judge the actions of ourselves and others based on the measure of scripture. How else are we able to tell if our actions and actions of others honor God? We are also very closed-minded. We believe what the holy scriptures teach us, and we do not add to nor do we take away from the lessons they contain. It is true, our minds are closed to the teachings that fall outside the truths of God’s holy word. Yes, we are very closed-minded.

It’s why most Christians are having such a hard time with this latest Supreme Court edict. The court has clearly stepped way out of the bounds of scripture in redefining marriage to allow those of the same sex to marry. It is a sad day to me when men think they can, in essence, tell God he is wrong. “You may have gotten many things right, Big Guy, but not this one. You quite missed the mark here. And we’ll just take that rainbow, too, if you don’t mind.”

Marriage is a gift from God, given to his children to illustrate the love he has for his church. Marriage came from God in order that we might grasp a bit of understanding concerning the intimacy he desires to have, spiritually, with us. A man and a woman were designed by God to fit hand in glove. It is perfection. He designed it to work his way. Whether or not I think my male friend should be able to marry their male significant other does not matter. I don’t have to like truth for it to be true. Who am I to say who can love whom? Well, I didn’t design love either. God did.

The truth is, marriage is not ours to define. It is now legal in this country for two men or two women to join together in a legal contract of marriage. It is a civil union bound only by a paper contract. I can be civilly united to anyone, for most any reason. The law will join us, and the law will have to fairly divide us should the partnership not work out for some reason.

A marriage is something wholly different. A marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman- who also join legally together, but with the added presence of God to make it something more. When God is in it, it becomes a covenant. Contracts can be dissolved easily enough. A covenant with God is something different. When a man and woman join together in holy matrimony, a spiritual binding takes place. Just ask anyone who has endeavored to sever that binding, and they will tell of the pain involved in doing so. To tear apart a covenant is akin to ripping flesh. And for the record, a man and a woman can also go to a Justice of the Peace and be joined civilly. If God is not present in the joining, that’s not a covenant either.

Our White House was lit up like a rainbow last night. My cynical nature had me laughing about that one. You see, the rainbow is God’s, too. It’s been hijacked, but it is still His. It is a reminder that His promises are true. 

The louder minority in America is crying that it’s a new day, and uninformed, brainwashed Christians just might as well get on board.

The heartbreaking reality is there are so many people, nice people, caught up in this deception. They want acceptance and love so much they are willing to grasp at a lie to get it. They want peace. But they are looking for it in the wrong places.

They can call it marriage, but it’s not marriage.

Now That’s Sexy!

Matthew and I will soon celebrate twenty-four years of wedded bliss. I could ask, Where did the time go?, but I know where it went. All of it. Fifteen houses, four kids, three states, nine ministry positions, and more than a few gray hairs later, and we are still going strong.

How can that be? Some people would look at us and say that we are lucky to have the marriage we have. I would beg to differ. We do not have the marriage we have because we are lucky. We have the marriage we have because we work hard at it.

Marriage takes a lot of work. It takes two individuals, who are vastly different creatures, learning how to walk this life out together without killing each other in the process. Those who do that, have a great deal to show for it. Those who don’t, spend their lives pondering what went wrong from their 8×8 prison cell.

One of my favorite Ruth Graham quotes is this. They asked her did she ever think about divorce and she said, “No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but,’ she said, ‘I did think of murder a few times.”

I’ve learned some things in twenty-four years of being married. I’ve learned that Matthew and I see the world in very different ways. He sees the world through man eyes, and I see it through woman eyes. It is incredible how clearly you can see the world when the two eyes are working together. The view is incredible.

When we first got married, I just figured all the gushy, mushy feelings would stay with us forever. When I was a newlywed, I wanted to be with Matthew all day, every day. I wanted to hold his hand, kiss his mouth, and walk every step he did. I soon learned that was not to be my life. It’s just not practical. After a while, eventually you have to stop ogling each other, and go to work.

But there is something to say for couples who manage to keep the fires burning for years and years. If you have ever tried to keep an actual fire burning, you know that it takes some tending to. Those fires will burn out if left alone, and starting a fire back that has gone cold is much harder than keeping a fire burning that is already lit. The same is true of marriage.

I am happy to say that the fire in my marriage is still burning. It’s not like it was in the beginning. In the beginning it was like a bonfire burning bright for all to see. Now, our fire is more like a campfire. It’s still warm, comforting, and it still sends up sparks from time to time, but its more of a steady glow than a raging bonfire.

Are you finding that the fire is growing dim in your own marriage? Maybe it’s time to stoke it a bit. When was the last time you took a trip, just the two of you? No kids, no jobs, just the two of you? How about a night out on the town? Get dressed up and go eat at a restaurant you can’t afford. Hold hands. Sit on the same side of the table.

When was the last time you looked at your spouse and thought, “Now that’s sexy?”

Let’s face it, we all eventually succumb to time, gravity, and the middle aged spread, albeit, some more than others, but sexy can still be there, if you look for it. Most of us said when we were younger that we wanted someone to grow old with, only now that we are actually growing old with someone, it’s not all we thought it would be. We’re older now, and sometimes old doesn’t look as good as we thought it would when we started this journey. Growing older is a reality, though, but it doesn’t have to be a killjoy in the marriage department.

You find sexy in the most unusual places when you are my age. For example, not too many weeks ago, I watched my husband in full on worship at church. Hand raised, singing his heart out to his Savior. BAM! Now, ladies, that was S E X Y! I’m not sure why that struck me as sexy, but in that moment, it did.

Maybe it’s time to throw another log on the fire of your marriage. Maybe you’ve stopped looking for sexy in your mate because you’re not twenty something anymore. Pish posh. Look for it. You’ll find it in the oddest places. And when you find it… do something about it. Good marriages aren’t accidental… and they aren’t the luck of the draw either. It takes effort and we have to pay attention. Where are you seeing sexy in your mate?

Where the Ocean Meets the Sky

So last December, my husband booked us for our first cruise ever. We sailed out to Cozumel, Mexico the day before Valentine’s Day. The man is good. In all honesty, I was a little uncomfortable with being out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico with no land in sight, for days. Before you pooh-pooh me, let me say that my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece were on the Carnival ship, Triumph, this time last year that lost power at sea and floated, stranded, for days. That coupled with story after story of mass attack stomach bugs on cruise ships recently had me more than a little apprehensive about the whole thing.

But with all the winter weather we’ve been blessed to have lately, I was really looking forward to some fun in the sun for a few days. So I did my best to set aside my concerns in favor of enjoying myself.

I had bought a few pretty dresses, (not something I usually wear) and some sparkly heels (also not something I usually wear) so I was more than a little excited to get all gussied up for the dinners and late shows on the ship. What girl doesn’t like to get pretty every once in a while? Sisters, sometimes we have to remind the old boys why they married us. You get me?

It took us the first day to get settled in with our sea legs. When you are shouldered with a lot of responsibility at home, it takes some time to allow those things to fade from your mind to the point that you are able to truly relax. But after the first day and night, we were like regulars on the ship. Perpetual vacationers. No cares in the world.

Midway through our first day at sea, I determined that I was going to go out on deck and look out at the gulf. I hoped to see a dolphin, or whale, or shark. Heck, I’d take a sea monster. Something. Matthew and I strolled out on deck and up to the railing. I looked down, which was possibly a mistake. I am a weensy bit afraid of heights. For a dizzying moment, I thought I had made a grave error in judgment in venturing to the railing. I quickly checked the security of the railing, and finding to be secure, I allowed myself to calm down and just be in the moment.

Then I lifted my eyes to the horizon. It was a sight I had never seen. As far as my eyes could see, there was only ocean meeting the sky in a perfectly drawn line. The line completely encircled the ship. Our cruise ship was the only thing disturbing the waters in that circle. The pale blue of the sky lacked a single cloud, and the deep turquoise of the ocean was left unbroken by any kind of creature I had hoped to see.

I had a hard time pulling my eyes away from the line of the horizon. “No one”, I thought, “could draw such a perfectly straight line as that one, but God.” There was no flaw, no interruption. It was perfect, as God is perfect. Standing there on the deck of that ship, I put my arm around Matthew and we just stood together and lost ourselves in the beauty of what God had made. I was reminded that all those things above and below the sea had continued before us and would continue to be after we had sailed from those waters. Our passage there was but a momentary distraction.

I looked up at the profile of my husband’s face to realize that moments in life like that one don’t often come every day. That it is up to us to see them and savor them. This life continues both before us and after us. We are but a vapor, here today and soon gone. If we aren’t paying attention, we can miss it. Whether or not we make a lasting impact during our stay here is completely up to us and completely dependent on our intentionality in making that impact.

The breeze had picked up on the deck as we stood there, and so I snuggled in close to Matthew and with my ear to his chest, I could hear his heart beating. Suddenly, I couldn’t help thinking of the chorus lyrics to that Rod Stewart song, “The Rhythm of My Heart”.


“Oh, the rhythm of my heart, is beating like a drum

With the words, “I love you”, rolling off my tongue

No never will I roam, for I know my place is home

Where the ocean meets the sky, I’ll be sailing”

Thank you, Matthew for a wonderful cruise, and moments to share with you, and for moments when God showed me more of who he is and who I am.

I love you.

What About My Right to Pursue Happiness?

My husband doesn’t always make me happy. If you’ve been married longer than thirty minutes, chances are yours doesn’t always make you happy either. There are times when my children also do things that make happiness a challenge. Are you a parent of at least one child who has pooped at least one dirty diaper so far? Then you know what I mean. And my job? My job has its moments, too. Even though I have a great job, there are plenty of times when I am not happy about my job.  And I can really get turned sideways when my car won’t start, or I can’t find my phone or my keys, or my cat puts just one more scratch on my leather sofa. (I’ve started calling my sofa distressed. If I’m going to be distressed about it, it should be distressed, too.) I told my husband leather was a bad idea with cats. See?

There are plenty of things that make me not happy. Every day. Moment by moment there is the potential for something or someone to come my way and steal my happiness right out from under me

I should be happy. I have the right to be happy. The forefathers of this great country of ours said so in the Declaration of Independence. Have you read it? I have. Those men were geniuses. According to the men who founded this country, I have the right, the God given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I can pursue happiness, and no one can tell me I can’t. It’s in the Declaration.

I have the right to pursue things that make me happy. Should those things suddenly stop making me happy, then I have the right to pursue something else. Someone else. Somewhere else.

What the forefathers forgot to mention in the Declaration, is while we can pursue happiness, it is an awfully hard thing to catch. Just when we think we have it in our grasp… it slips through our fingers and it vanishes right before our eyes. We are left standing there staring at something we had pursued, sure it would make us happy, only to find that it doesn’t, somehow, make us happy after all. But not to worry, before too long, we are off pursuing something else with the same promise of happiness.

It’s all so tiring, isn’t it? I’m tired just writing about it. Just like the saying, “time heals all wounds” is a lie from the enemy, so is the pursuit of happiness. Think about it. There is nowhere in the Scriptures that tells us to pursue happiness. Righteousness, now we are told to pursue righteousness. Wisdom. We definitely are told to seek wisdom. Holiness. Yep. Holiness is definitely in there. But happiness? Nope. Not once.

We do not have the right to be happy. We are not encouraged to pursue it. At all. Actually, we are cautioned about pursuing things that are only temporal. We are encouraged to seek things that are eternal. Like righteousness, wisdom, and holiness.

So what about being happy? Doesn’t God want us to be happy? What father doesn’t want his kids to be happy? I mean, when you ask most parents what they want most for their children, nine times out of ten, parents will say they want their kids to be happy. They want their kids to do what makes them happy.

The problem with that is that what makes us happy today, doesn’t always make us happy tomorrow. We are a fickle species.

It’s not Matthew’s job to make me happy. It’s not your husband’s job to make you happy either. Nor is it our children’s job, or our job’s job, or our friend’s, or parent’s or our circumstance’s.

Well meaning people who kind of get it even will say it’s our own job to make ourselves happy.

That’s wrong, too. How can you possibly manufacture your own happiness? Where do those ingredients come from?

What the Bible does say about this matter is this. We are to pursue joy. For the believer, we have a joy factory within us. We have the ability, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to crank out an endless supply of the stuff. And here’s the kicker. Joy is not dependent upon our circumstances. It isn’t dependent on what our husband does or doesn’t do, how our kids behave, what happens on the job, or anything like that.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

God can fill us up with joy. And not only that, with peace! In the midst of things that should make us unhappy, we can, instead, have joy. And peace! And hope! We can be filled with it all.

You can look it up if you want to, but I promise that verse 14 does not go on to say, “if things are going the way you wanted them to go.”

So who do you need to let off the hook today? Who are you blaming for your unhappiness? Who is having to carry that burden for you? Trade in happiness for joy. Happiness is fleeting, but joy can abound. Paul said that no matter his situation, he had learned to be joyful. He wrote that verse from a prison cell. Things were not going well for Paul at that time, and yet he had learned the secret to contentment. It’s Joy.

Joy came to the world. It’s still here. It’s in the hearts of everyone who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Let’s stop looking for outward things to make us happy and start tapping into that well. Give up your right to pursue happiness, and instead choose joy. It will change everything.