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Married For Keeps
part two
The Treasure


May the LORD be with you and bless you this day!  He is so gracious to us all and His mercies are new every morning.  I share this before I share my letter with you because I know that each time I share a letter on marriage, there are sisters whose hearts are breaking and the pain of marital difficulties weighs heavily on them.  So it is with this in mind that I write and pray to offer a bit of hope today.


What I’d like to share with you today is a continuation of the message I sent a couple of weeks ago and have continued mulling over.  A subject most dear to my heart and the topic of many letters, marriage continues to be a main focus of ministry to women.


As I shared previously, when I was a little girl, one of my favourite games was playing marbles.  I shared that I carried my little zippered bag with two handles that held my precious marble collection.  I had treasures in that bag that I dearly loved and absolutely hated the thought of losing!  At the beginning of each game a circle was drawn in the dust and the question was posed: “Are we playing for keeps, or are we just playing?”


You see, in marriage, it’s a lot like that and from the beginning, the ground rules or the foundation must be firmly in place and clearly defined.  In observing couples over the years, I’ve often noticed that some seem as though they’re just playing while others are clearly playing for keeps.  Some seem careless about the marbles in their bags… as if to disregard their value while others cherish them knowing their worth is greater than all the finest jewels in the world.


As analogies usually do, this analogy of marbles and games and playing for keeps or just playing will break down quickly and perhaps lose the depth of meaning I’m intending to convey, so I ask you… are you married for keeps or are you just playing?  If your answer isn’t an affirmative: playing for keeps(!), then may I ask you again for a moment more of your time… another visit over a cup of tea and a prayer for resolve to do whatever it takes to get to the heart of your commitment and to see any fault lines or cracks in your foundation and for you to take a sincere look at what else you’ve got in the bag that you’re treasuring.


As with most things, what you’ve got in your bag demonstrates what you treasure and what you’ve been willing to part with or what you’ve lost.  You’ve likely had some of both, but will hopefully come to cherish your treasures more as the years go by. 



The Treasures


There’re numerous valuable marbles in the bag of one who’s “married for keeps.”   And for one who’s married for keeps, quickly discarding the worthless marbles or those things that will damage the treasures is paramount to the guarding of the treasures.  One of the marbles worth keeping and guarding is faith, another is trust, another is hope, others are: love, repentance, forgetfulness, laughter, tenderness, intimacy, respect and loyalty.  You see, all of these, if treasured and cherished, if guarded and kept polished, provide such strength and an unshakeable resolve to “play for keeps!”  If these aren’t kept carefully, then the marriage will be open to all sorts of assaults and distractions resulting in damage or loss of any or all of the foundational stones or “marbles.”   


Perhaps you’ve noticed the interaction in different marriages.  Some, you’ve readily seen are played out sweetly with great precision as if every move is made with skillful intention; you might feel warmed by the loving respect you see displayed, the tender kindness you see demonstrated in even small things.   Then in others, you see right away the negligence and disregard; careless words that make you wince, disrespectful attitudes that make you cringe.   The un-cherished treasure, the unloved gift---the bag of marbles spilling out, the “pink cleary” lost in the battle.  Something inside me aches and dies for couples who mistreat one another.   Because I’m keenly intent on the matter,  it’s an area of occasional spiritual attack and I’m so ashamed when I discover that I’ve not been gracious to my husband, or that I’ve not cherished the treasure of the gift that he is.  I grieve when I hear a man mock his wife or a woman’s careless disrespect for her husband’s opinion or plan.  It’s as if edification is for *others* but we allow a certain measure of leeway for our flaws or flexibility if we don’t feel like “playing by the rules” we might demand in others.


I shared with you last time that when I was a little girl playing marbles, I tried to play with intense skill and the determination of a professional as I’d guard that pretty “pink cleary” and I tried to never let it out of my site. Everyone knew it was my favourite as I rarely took it out of my little bag and played it only when I felt absolutely certain I’d not lose it.  So it ought to be with each of us and the husband the LORD’s given us:  each with our prized treasure: his hopes, his reputation, his home, his goals, his thoughts, his needs, his vulnerabilities, and his emotions---we ought to be so careful with these that we would do nothing to lose or damage them.


Proverbs 31.12 says: “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”  All the days of her life.  Not when convenient, not just when duty calls, not when comfortable, but all the days of her life.  Doing good is *active* and intentional… laziness takes little effort, but doing good means taking initiative and requires being resourceful.  Why?  Because sometimes we’ve got such a long way to go or feel there’s no good place to start that every move seems heavy and hopeless.  With God, all things are possible and nothing is hopeless---with God.  That’s the key to being married for keeps: with God, all things are possible.


Today, take a look at the “bag” of the treasures of your life.  What’s in your bag?  Have you cherished the treasures in your bag?  Have you sought to be diligent in caring for the things the LORD’s called you to care for?  Have you been careless with your treasures?  Have you neglected or mishandled the treasures of your marriage?  Today---while it is still today, do the next right thing.  What have you neglected?  Respecting him?  Loving him?  Meeting his needs? Honouring him?  Building him up to your children?  Have you laughed *with* him or *at* him?   You see, the answers to these questions will give you a bit of a hint as to what next right thing is that you ought to do. 


On your knees your answers will come.





The Welcome Home   ~ pamela spurling    2004   19992010   PO Box 2130 Snohomish, Washington 98291 USA
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