To have and to hold*

*Disclaimer: Claim only applies if the following conditions are met: shower curtain is closed after using, dishes are rinsed and placed in the dishwasher, no open can drinks are left on countertops or refrigerator. Other terms and conditions may apply and be revealed without warning. 

I have known couples who have worked their relationships exactly like an iTunes Terms and Conditions section. One bride had a three-strike list and just one day before the wedding, the groom was teetering on strike two!

It’s these petty disclaimers that have whittled the institution of marriage down to a handshake between two people, but their fingers are crossed. 

Last week, Pope Francis came under fire for saying that “great majority of our sacramental marriages are null because they (the couple) say ‘yes, for the rest of my life’ but they don’t know what they are saying because they have a different culture.” Simply put, people are getting married for the moment and not for life. 

But that is what today’s society has transformed marriage into. “If it doesn’t work out, we can just split up and do our own thing again. No biggie.” However, those couples don’t realize that they are breaking covenant. 

Let’s talk covenant today. Now this is going to be a super simple explanation of covenant. A covenant is defined as an agreement, a bond that requires a certain conduct from those making it. 

Back in Biblical times, covenants were lifelong and sealed with the shedding of blood. Sealers of covenants would slaughter an animal, walk through the slaughter in a figure eight with both parties stating terms and the consequences of not following said terms (which was usually the shedding of…ahem…blood.)

So when does this apply to our marriage talk? Well, I’m glad you asked. Couples begin their covenant agreement by verbalizing their vows to a minister and in front of their family. Later that evening…they are to seal that covenant with the shedding of blood by having sex for the first time. That’s when the covenant has been signed, sealed, and delivered. 

As the Pope plainly put it, our culture has changed. People are having sex out of wedlock, they aren’t forming their covenant bonds with their spouse, but they are forming it with everyone else! Plus, as we said in an earlier post, divorce has become commonplace. 

Couples aren’t being taught the importance of the covenant that they are forming. Men and women are taking the reins and steering their relationships right into the ditch, simply because they don’t understand their roles within the covenant that they make. Titus 2:4-5 says, “…train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” 

Husbands are to love and to treat their wife like Christ treat the church. Check it out.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.

 Ephesians 5:28-29 NLT

With all that being said, your vows and the covenant that you make with God and your spouse are to be taken with the upmost importance. No disclaimers, conditions, or things that could sabotage the relationship. 

Ben Harper has a song called “Forever” that really fits with this topic. He talks about how he doesn’t want a year or two or four, he wants forever. Go check it out when you have time. 

These marriage blogs have been taking a little time to put together, so please bear with me as they trickle out. Thanks for reading, y’all be safe out there. 

Till death…err, something like that…

After struggling for a topic to write about, I finally settled on one that I have been meaning to talk about for a few weeks: marriage. This post has been sitting in my draft bin for the last two months, I just couldn’t get the pen to write the words needed. 

Now, I know that this is an extremely broad topic to handle in a 600-800 word blog, but this one is its gonna be the tip of the iceberg. So bear with me as we walk through a few of these together.

According to the numbers, forever isn’t very long. Numbers from the Barna Group state that one-third of all adults have ended a marriage. That means that one out of every three people have been a part of a divorce. The General Social Survey, a demographic study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, found that Christians, like adherents of other religions, have a divorce rate of about 42%. The rate among folks who aren’t associated with a religion in America is 50%. (USA TODAY article, 2011)

It used to be a lot harder to even think about splitting up. A king had to imprison a few ladies and create his own church to do it one time. 
In America during the 20th Century, divorce was not completely unheard of, but it was a lot more low key. In the 1950s, the divorce rate hovered around 15 to 20 percent and sometimes hit 11 percent. The drive upwards didn’t gain much ground until California governor Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce bill in 1969. This allowed spouses to end a marriage without probable cause. Marriage was officially no longer a holy union for life, but more like a toy loved on Christmas morning, then forgotten and discarded in the following weeks. 

Now, I love being married. It has been like having a sleepover with your best friend, which is pretty awesome.

But marriage isn’t always sunshine and roses. For some, it started out on a lie and just snowballed into a image to upkeep. Next thing they know, they hate one another and are just being civil until the kids grow up.

 Just looking around, it seems like divorce has just become the norm of our day to day. The biggest question is this: Has it become easier to give up on a marriage than it is to build one?

A big part of understanding your marriage is understanding covenant. When a couple enters into marriage, they are entering in a covenant with one another and, more importantly, with God. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 in the New Living  Translation says, ” A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

To translate, a person alone kinda sucks. Two people, let’s take on the world. Three…ironclad.

It was ordained in the very beginning. Adam + Eve + God = Holy Union. He literally pulled Eve from Adam’s side, signifying that husband and wife work side by side, no one is higher than the other. 

However, over time we have fallen into the same trap that ensnared Adam and Eve. We have been lied to and told that we know better than what has been instructed of us. We continually eat the apple and hear the snake laugh at our faults. 

But there’s hope! 

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.

Psalm 71:20-21 ESV

No matter how hopeless or crappy things seem, God sees you. He’s right there, ready to pull you and your spouse out. 

As we wrap this portion up, go listen to this song. It’s a good one that def applies to the situation.

Thanks for reading and y’all be safe out there. 

Coffee across town


I sit, 

in a booth, in a diner

on the far side of town.

My spoon is dirty,

I stir my coffee with a fork.

As I sip,

the bitter heat sears my memory.

Our wedding day,

where we smeared cake

across each other’s face.

Moving into our first house

and sliding through the kitchen

Saturday mornings in just our socks.

How could all of our good times

just slip away, like the moon at dawn?

As I reach the shallows of my fourth cup,

I glance across my ‘fortress of solitude,’

a couple catches my weary eye.

They are old, him in his red Member’s Only jacket,

and her with her blue hair and matching eye-shadow.

They aren’t talking,

they just sit, and eat their pecan pie.

They talk of their grandchildren,

and plans for a 50th anniversary.

Tears erupt.

This could work, we could work.

We don’t have to end with litigated papers.

I motion to the waitress- Jean, I think-

I pay the tab for me and the couple.

I pull myself from the booth,

and shuffle towards them.

“Thanks,” I say, “You saved us tonight.”

“But you’re by yourself,” they reply.

“No, I’m not,” I said, looking to my left hand.

I had a hard time getting something written today. So, here’s a poem I wrote nine years ago! 

I hope that this will offer just a smidge of hope for you if you are going through a rough patch. What this poem is lacking is the third strand that is vital to any marriage. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” That means that for any marriage to get where it needs to be, God needs to be added in there. 

The Word talks a lot about marriage and what it takes to be successful. What you need to do is crack the book open and read it! Learn what it means to be a good husband or wife. Study the covenant that you have between God and your spouse. Be encouraged!

Thanks for reading, y’all be safe out there.