Married For Keeps
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.
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