6 lessons learned from 6 years of marriage

Sarah & Justin

A lot has happened in 6 years!  We’ve added 3 girls to our quiver, moved to a different country, and have lived half of our marriage in the bush of Africa. Our world is radically different from that day 2,190 days ago in Battle Ground, Indiana.

Marriage is school. It never stops. My subject of study is my wife Sarah (1 Peter 3:7). Here are some lessons I’ve learned the past 6-years with her.

1. My wife gets more beautiful each year.  I have rarely seen Sarah put on make-up.  She doesn’t need it. She is a natural beauty.  This is so mushy, but I simply like looking at her.

2. My wife has become my bestie.  I have had many good good friends, but Sarah is the best best friend I have. She knows my junk.  She is patient and loving with me.  She helps me become a better man.

3. Compliment the food even if it wasn’t a home run.  This has taken me a few years to learn.  My wife is a great cook.  In Chad, she doesn’t have a lot to work with, yet she finds a way to knock most out of the park.

4. It is loving to listen.

5. Praying together grows intimacy. Enough said.

6. It’s worth the wait. I was 29 years old when I married. I would wait another 29 if I knew it would be for a woman like Sarah.

listen and obey even on a rainy day

I love rainy days. Why not jump in a puddle when you are already wet? Didn’t your mom tell you not to jump in puddles as a kid?

The majority desires to be told what to do; yet only a minority has no desire to actually do what they are told.  It is a peculiar contradiction that leaves many floating without a purpose on a sea of self-devistation.  Many have said, “I have committed my life to Jesus my Savior, but what do I do now?”

The answer is simple.  It is simple, but not necessarily easy.  You see simple rarely equals easy.  That is why many have such a disparagement for simplicity.  So, what do I do now?  Listen and obey.  Listen and obey what? God’s Word; hear and do what God says. This answer almost always produces a volatile response.  It robs me of excuses.  It breaks down my defenses.  It leaves me completely vulnerable.

James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Dueteronomy 13:18 if you will listen to the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God.

Listen and obey, that’s it? Some ask for a formula or creative checklists take the heart out of the equation.  We crave a formula.  We want our 10 steps to spiritual success, 5 easy steps to an “on fire” relationship with God, 3 “P’s” for purity, and a quirky acronym for GOSPEL. I’d buy that because I desire a nice, safe, cute Christianity that is non-offensive and void of power.  Rather just give me something measurable, something that I can get my hands around and then store on a shelf for a rainy day. Not! A rainy day theology means that I want my faith on stand by, just in case there is an emergency.

Sad to say, it doesn’t work that way. Following Jesus is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  Listening and obeying is risky.  It leaves room for human error: Is it really God speaking to me? How do I know it is God not the spicy Indian food I ate the other day? This is the point: I can communicate with Him and ask questions, and He answers through the Bible. Hear, His voice is right at our finger tips in His written Word. Just listen and obey.  Rarely is it all that complicated.  We argue.  We contemplate.  We ask three friends if they think it was really God’s voice and the moment passes.  We don’t obey.  And we miss out on the divine.

Listening and obeying must be done.  I cannot rely on someone to listen to God for me.  It doesn’t work. In a world where everything is prepackaged, Christianity doesn’t seem to work.  It is too difficult.  Many are far too busy to do something so silly as listen. You cannot purchase God’s plan for your life at your local Christian bookstore.  They don’t have it.  He doesn’t come prepackaged. God knows the outcome of our obedience:  Obedience changes the world, and disobedience perpetuates the ho-hum (Micah 6).