I am an old married lady. Well…not really old, just old married. A conference I attended a few years ago brought to my awareness the rarity of my marriage’s condition. Apparently, being first-time married 20-plus years and my husband and I both having parents with 45-year first marriages put us in a minority of around 10% of the nation’s population.
I remember celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary at a nice restaurant in Albuquerque. Our waitress inquired how long we’d been married, and when we told her fifteen years, she looked surprised and said, “Wow, that’s a really long time!”
Our culture is becoming increasingly unfamiliar with marital commitment. I believe we have a unique opportunity to communicate a kingdom message to those around us by building marriages that endure.
If you are like me, I imagine you are not thinking your marriage is your primary evangelistic tool. And, if you are like me, you might even cringe at the thought of how you’ve “witnessed” to others in the past (Thank you, Husband’s 1990’s Wardrobe, for being an all-too-easy prey of wifely jokes). But let me encourage you with the words Jesus spoke to his (very imperfect) disciples in John 17: 20-23:
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one… And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me… May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
If we think about the context of this passage, very few of us would tie it to marriage. Most of us relate it (and rightly so) to the universal body of believers. It is about being unified, and not fighting over nonsense like church building carpet colors.
But stretch your minds for a moment with me: the context of marriage is definitely “becoming one” and living in unity. Therefore, we have a position to communicate a message through our marriages.
As an old married person but with limited space here, I’d like to offer one pointer for marital harmony and improving our kingdom witness: Speak kindly ABOUT your spouse TO others.
Years ago, before Lyle and I married, we decided there are enough people in the world who tear others down, so we needed to build each other up, especially when we’re in conversation with acquaintances. We all know how easy it is to unload on a friend about your husband’s pile of dirty socks, but do we realize the detriment that can do to our kingdom impact?
In Titus 2:5 (Amplified Version), Paul asks wives to honor their husbands so that the Word of God would not be dishonored.
People of the world often only see the Word through how we handle life. If we, as wives, speak praise of our husbands, we will honor our men, and thus help create an enduring marriage.
Who will be witnesses of our message?
This post was written by Shelli Jarvis. To read more about her, click here.