Marriage is interesting. I’m fortunate enough to have seen many solid witnesses of faithful marriages my whole life – beginning with my parents, and grandparents, and all the way down to aunts and uncles and our church family. I attended a couple weddings in the last six months and witnessed some new homes and families just beginning. I’ll be a part of another young couple’s wedding in a few short weeks. On Sunday, just through conversation, I learned of one couple who has been together 25 years and another who is approaching 60 years of marriage!
Ed Young has a great book I recently read called the 10 Commandments of Marriage. In it, he describes the three stages of a marriage. I thought these were worth thinking about today.
The Honeymoon Stage
Marriage brings a change of pattern to each person. It’s not easy to readjust your habits and lifestyle. So, this honeymoon stage is a needed stage to smooth out the bumps. It helps a couple settle in. (Incidentally, one of the big reasons that “live in” situations often do not work out is because they miss this in a commitment context.) During this honeymoon season, things seem too good to be true! To the wife, the husband is perfect and in the husband’s eyes, the wife can do no wrong.
The “Party’s Over” Stage
This stage may seem tough, but it’s also needed. It helps bring about the reality that no one is perfect and that commitment requires work. All of a sudden, it dawns on the wife that the husband does have a few flaws. Husbands begin to see ways he can pick at things his wife says and does. It’s not easy to keep the passion alive when there are schedules, bills, housework, and kids. Too often at this stage, couples either just settle in and resolve to live with it, decide to throw in the towel and divorce or move past it to the final stage.
The Best Is Yet To Be Stage
It’s at this stage that Ed Young describes “mature love”, the kind of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. Mature love is one that knows of the flaws but loves anyway. Nothing can destroy this kind of love. This stage is an opportunity for couples to use their marriage as a witness of God’s faithfulness. It brings with it knowledge and freedom knowing even through tough times, we’ll stay together. It also brings a look to the future of each day better than the day before. The best is yet to come!
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