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How to make your marriage work – 3 bits of advice that you can’t do without!

25 July 2012

I am preaching at a wedding of 2 friends from Mosaic Church on Saturday from 1 John 4 under the theme of ‘love each other as God has loved you” and I thought I’d share 3 pieces of wisdom regarding making your marriage work.

The first 2 come come from letters written by people living in tough circumstances who were not able to attend their best friends wedding and the 3rd comes from my very own mother!

Here are the 3 pieces of advice that I think if we follow will make any marriage flourish!

(1) Dietrich Bonhoeffer (May 1943)

Writing from a prison cell in Berlin to his niece the night before she married his best friend Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer said

“It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love”

It is not your gooey romantic feelings that you feel on the day of your wedding that will hold your marriage together to the end, it is your marriage (the vows, commitment and covenant you make on your wedding day before God and his people) that will hold you love/romance together. When the ‘gooey feelings’ go away, the vow/commitment/covenant keeps you going and give you a platform on which to rekindle the romance.

(2) Hilare Brown (July 1897)

Writing as a missionary in Bengal to her best friend (my distant relative) Mina on the day she married a certain Dr Vaughan.

I have & am asking for you that on this such a great day to you, you may have His own sweet peace:  & His richest blessing.  I know he will grant it to you… lately I have been asking Jesus much to make Himself your best beloved:  if Dr Vaughan sees this [letter] as doubtless he will, I know he will gladly say ‘amen’ to this, for the more we love Jesus the larger our hearts grow & the deeper & truer our love will be to others.”

As we know Jesus’ love for us and love him as our best beloved (what a great phrase!) then our hearts grow bigger and deeper and truer our love for others will be. As I love Jesus first I will be able to love my wife best. This ties in very nicely with what my mum said (see below)

The friend of my distant relative Mina went on to write these powerful words

“Jesus has been showing me such wonders lately in His love, it is like a fair country that grows fairer as we walk through it; my grief is my heart is so small & cold, I cannot love Him back & am for ever grieving Him.  Do you not think in Heaven Mina dear our hearts will grow big enough to love Him rightly.  I do love to think perhaps it may be so.”

Is that not amazing? (the original letter, written 115 years ago, was shown me by my uncle and is scanned in to the left)

(3) Sheila Vaughan (August 2004)

Speaking to me just before I married my lovely wife Leanne she said

“The greatest gift I can give Leanne is the quality of my relationship with the Lord Jesus”

I think all 3 quotes are great but my mums advice wins for me and as I said, I quote it at nearly every wedding I speak at!

So what do you think? Which one is your favourite? Any other great sound-bites people quote at weddings?

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