Yes, Sally, There Can Be Remarriage and Redemption After Divorce.

“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” — Amos 3:3

‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas, while sappy and retrospective, that what to my weepy eyes should appear? This:

Sally says: December 5, 2018 at 2:27 am Edit

I wonder if you considered the power of God to redeem your errant “beginning” spouse, no matter how long it took.

I thought that was why Jesus said what He said of divorce and remarriage. He wanted the chance to redeem the marriage or at least, show the children and the world the value of a vow. I do not think remarriage serves the children. They had enough with the separation or divorce.

A friend’s parents divorced when she was 19. Her mother remarried twice, all marriages divorced. Her dad married a nice woman who died after five years married to her. He did not marry again. When my friend was in her forties, she said she still wished her parents would get back together. I think children instinctively know they are a product of their parents and so instinctively feel less than whole when the parents are not united and feel even less whole when they see another party hindering the slightest possibility of parents’ reconciliation. Does it really help the child to have that much confusion in their lives? By remarrying while your former spouse is yet alive, you are teaching your children the vow does not matter.

I grew up with a boy in church whose parents were divorced. The father did not remarry and as far as I know, the offending mother did not either. The father remained raised six children, all of whom are productive and professing Christians many years. I think that was due, at least in part, to his commitment to keep his vow. Those two parents are now buried side by side as husband and wife.

Likewise, I know of two professing married Christians who were separated many years until death separated them. They lived together briefly before he died in their elder years. I think their commitment to their vow left the children and community with the sense and value of a vow. I admire anyone who values the wedding vow that much. Do Christ’s words have any strength they were meant to have, that no one should put asunder, which includes remarriage.

God would have all to be saved. That is His goal. To me, part of being saved is being committed in marriage, separated or not, until death parts, for that is Christ’s example and commitment to his Bride the Church. Would we want Christ to abandon His vow to us? Yet, we abandon our vow to our marriages when we remarry while the original spouse is yet alive. When we remarry while the original spouse yet alive, we are telling the world God does not have the power to redeem our marriage or that God does not have the sustaining grace to help us keep the vow we made.

How does a remarriage bring the offending spouse into relationship with God? You hated divorce but not enough to keep the vow. It looks like your husband committed adultery against the marriage and now you got him back by legally committing adultery via a remarriage to another. Seems you are birds of a feather. He adulterated first, you later. I would rather go into Heaven with one eye than go into Hell with two.

Read Michael and Marilyn’s Phillips story in the free download, First Aid For A Troubled Marriage, and see how God showed her how to find peace with an errant spouse and how God restored her marriage, how God made the marriage new. I think remarriages have their own built in troubles because God knew the only answer to being separated or divorced was remaining single or reconciling until death parts the “beginning” marriage. Jesus is in the business of redemption, reconciliation, salvation, sanctification. His grace is sufficient to keep a “beginning” marriage vow, separated or divorced, until death do us part. I think that is what the world needs to see and wants to see – those willing to keep their vow no matter what, remaining single or reconciled.

After much thought, prayer and meditation on this issue throughout the Christmas season, I will respond from my heart. I don’t want to tear this sister in Christ apart. I will just answer her questions, perhaps with a few of my own. Ultimately, I want to speak the truth in love.

“I wonder if you considered the power of God to redeem your errant “beginning” spouse, no matter how long it took.”

Yes, Sally, I certainly did consider the power of God to heal my marriage and that’s how I prayed. I prayed and told the children to pray, after he left us. The anguish was unbearable. Six months after separation, my husband declared he wanted a divorce. He never came back home. This was a situation I had no control over. But God did. He is in control of every circumstance. God is sovereign, so I did not, no I certainly could not, stand in the way of Him reconciling us. That door was left open. You say, ‘He wanted the chance to redeem the marriage’ as if I did not give Jesus this opportunity! As if poor Jesus was beholden to me and my will. Gasp. I believe God took me out of the marriage by force – and He fed me Truth during that horrific period of separation before the divorce was final. I believe it was His divine protection and providence, yes, His grace, dear Sally, that was at work during that time. Perhaps you are rebuking me right now. I understand.

As for children feeling less whole when their parents split, let me just say that every person needs to seek Christ for whole-ness. We all need the Savior Jesus Christ. We are all broken, married or not, without Him! Marriage doesn’t make you whole. The family unit doesn’t either when it is malfunctioning in destructive ways. Yes, Sally, children, young or older, are always hurt in divorce. I never wanted to hurt my children. But my children were hurt in the marriage.

Yes, Sally, divorce is sin. But it is not the unpardonable sin. Jesus forgave my divorce. I still bear the consequences. God is good. I still pray for my ex-husband as well as our children. Every broken soul needs to plead with our ultimate soul-mate, Jesus Christ.

As for the confusion of remarriage, my children were happy to see me loved and cared for when I remarried. They were more confused by what happened in my marriage and household (that I will not expose here) than seeing me remarry. No, they did not jump for joy over my new spouse. Of course it’s weird. My own father dated a woman after my mom’s death and I didn’t like that at all – and that was ‘legal’, as you would say. But Sally, as you said, He makes all things new. This was my new: a new spouse, a new marriage and a new chance to be a true display of God’s love toward us as redeemed husband and redeemed wife in Christ. God may choose to redeem a marriage, but His business is redeeming His people. It was better for me to part from an unbeliever than be stunted in growth with my Savior. My new husband and I are being sanctified in a new marriage. This time, my husband and I both agree as in Amos 3:3. We both have a relationship with Jesus Christ. There’s a good question for you , Sally: Can two walk together except they be agreed?

How does a remarriage bring the offending spouse into relationship with God?

Salvation is of God, not by works. It was no longer my duty to be a guardian of the offending spouse’s soul, because he chose not to be my spouse. Ugh, this is starting to sound so silly, Sally. I didn’t remarry until ten years after he left the marital premises, if that helps, but I don’t know why I’m defending myself here. Really.

“You hated divorce but not enough to keep the vow”

You mention a professing Christian couple who were separated for many years and you say that their commitment left the children and community with a sense of value for the vow. First of all, I can’t agree that their vows were kept! The vow of marriage is more than saying ‘I will not divorce you’. C’mon, Sally, the vow involves living beside each other, loving one another, together, under one roof, performing all marital duties, not mere obeisance to a State document that says you’re still married. Please. Secondly, I’d rather my children and community see a vow kept with the whole heart, as it should be, not kept by paper. Any other kind of vow is just, um well, not keeping the vow! The vow is to LOVE AND CHERISH AND STAY WITH THE PERSON. Thirdly, the value of the vow is that my first allegiance is to Christ, not a man who does not obey Him.

“…you got him back by legally committing adultery via a remarriage to another. Seems you are birds of a feather. He adulterated first, you later. I would rather go into Heaven with one eye than go into Hell with two.”

Ouch. Wow, Sally.

I believe I am heaven-bound because Jesus is mine and I am His. He bought me with His blood and has carried me through the affliction of divorce. Those years of separation were the hardest years of my life. He chastised me, humbled me, directed my steps and gave me hope. He blessed me, yes blessed! me with a new husband.

Marriage and family, sadly, can become idols. Pride steps in and self-righteousness says, ‘My marriage cannot break up! What will people say?’ or ‘I did everything right! This can’t happen to me. No one in my family ever divorced. I will be shamed!’ or ‘I won’t grant him this divorce. I’m so good and faithful and I’ll prove it by remaining alone the rest of my life.’

Sally, you did not walk in my shoes.

Marriage between 2 fallible sinful humans is never perfect. Keeping a vow when one breaks it can’t be done. A vow, according to Merriam Webster, is a solemn promise or assertion, one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition. How could I keep up the acts of serving him, or ‘condition’ of married life when he is NOT THERE? Pride and self-righteousness can stand in the way of humbly admitting the marriage is over when vows have been broken. Only God is faithful. He keeps His promises all the time. He is the One who is Faithful and True. Not man. So, my marriage was no longer viable. It’s been said ‘it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings’, well trust me, she sang!

I am a Reformed Presbyterian Protestant Christian, Sally. You may not be familiar with Reformed denominations and our beliefs. We uphold the doctrines of grace which include the sovereignty of God, total human depravity, and unconditional election. I am not part of liberal Christian churches, the Charismatic movement, Pentecostalism, Ecumenism, or any other ism but the Bible, which is most soundly followed in Reformed circles. We don’t do works for salvation, but we work through heart-felt gratitude for that salvation we’ve already received. We don’t manipulate God with mantras, or impress others with self-flagellation or Pharisaical law-keeping. If you are interested, you can read our divorce/remarriage views here, where they are far better expressed than by me:

https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2005/divorce-and-remarriage/

Better yet, Sally, I would encourage you to re-read the Sermon on the Mount. Am I an adulterer? Yes, I am. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. It always boils down to the HEART. A vow is a heart matter. Half-hearted or stone-hearted doesn’t count. Robotic obedience doesn’t count. Whole heart. Or none. It’s hard, Sally. It is hard to live up to the standard of purity and real LOVE. It’s only the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to do so. And still we fall, we fail. His mercies are new every morning. Thank God for my Savior. He did it all…for me. I have His imputed righteousness so my Father in heaven sees me totally cleansed.

“To me, part of being saved is being committed in marriage, separated or not, until death parts, for that is Christ’s example and commitment to his Bride the Church. Would we want Christ to abandon His vow to us?”

Never! And He won’t. Remaining faithful to a marriage that doesn’t exist is fantasy, and is certainly not equivalent to or the litmus test for salvation. Jesus never abandons His own. Christ’s example is complete unfailing faithfulness. And Christian marriage is supposed to be a display of God’s love to us, through the love and actions of husband and wife. That display can’t happen with one spouse rebelling, fornicating, or disappearing from the marriage. Sally, to me, my first and ultimate commitment is to my Divine Husband, Jesus Christ. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. My first husband did. I pray that I’ve spoken the Truth in love, dear sister.

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Christmas Every Day: Traditions Die, Everything Changes but Jesus is Our Constancy

DSC08695A story called Christmas Every Day, by William Dean Howells, is about a selfish little girl who had an insatiable appetite for gifts, candy and all the hoopla that Christmas provides. She never wanted it to end. A fairy granted her wish to have Christmas every day, where she would awaken to blazing tree lights, gifts, and sweets to eat every morning for an entire year. After many, many Christmases she grew weary of it all. Presents were flung about and the very thought of holiday food brought indigestion. While this is a cute moral tale about greed and selfishness, it really misses the point. Howells’ story is all wrong.

That little girl needs an insatiable appetite for Christ, not Christmas. Isn’t He the reason for the season after all? Forgive me for that despicable cliche, which I hate.

Jesus Christ is a believer’s reason for living, for life itself.

We argue and debate about Christmas every year. To celebrate or not to celebrate. Pagan or Christian. Simple or extravagant. Let me throw one more debate at you. The problem is not that we celebrate Christmas, the problem is that we celebrate Christ only one day, one season. That’s ridiculous.

Is one season a year for Jesus Christ really stupid?

I think so.

It all started with my disappointment over waning traditions. My daughter and her family would not be coming on Christmas Day. We would have them for a few hours, 11am to 3pm exactly, on Christmas Eve instead. I was miserable. The tradition of recent years was Christmas day festivities with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. We’d graze on appetizers, open gifts, then have a wonderful feast. What would I do this year? Christmas Eve brunch?

My world was shaken. This year was so different. Maybe for you, too. There may have been adult children who could not visit. Or adult children who did not even want to visit. Or call. Or speak to or see you ever at all. I started out with a joyful anticipation and with this sudden change of plans I lamented:

‘Why bother? I won’t make another cookie! Humbug.’

Traditions die. So many have over the years. I’ve tried to hold on to some of my mother’s traditions. She did so much more than me at Christmastime that, thinking back, I marvel at her energy for cooking and baking. I love when my daughter and daughters-in-law continue using the same recipes I’ve passed down to them.

For the true believer, this season (Christmas) will never end!

My heart jumped when I saw that posted by a Facebook friend. It validated my very thoughts I’d pondered and scribbled down for this blog post. Yes, yes, we have Christmas every day! We don’t need a fairy to grant our wishes, we have Christ, the Hope of glory, every moment. We have a Savior who gave us life. There should be no such thing as after-Christmas blues. Post holiday depression. No, never. That might be so for William Dean Howells’ selfish, shallow little girl. Her idols were temporal. Her god was her belly. The little girl’s Christmas was presents, cakes, sugar, parties, excess!

DSC08624The world creates a season where Jesus is barely visible; where glitz, gimmes and inflated Santas rule and rock in the disappointingly snow-less wind. I want to bust all the inflatables and pop all the hot air of false doctrine. I want to replace glaring bulbs with True Light.

Some Christians make Christmas a ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ celebration, complete with the birthday cake and candles. Ugh. Let’s worship King Jesus and stop putting him back in the manger.  Indeed Isaiah 9:6 says:

‘For unto us a child is born…’ but I’d rather focus on:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The little girl in Howells’ story felt a void after Christmas. Though filled with worldly junk and sweets, she was left wanting. What that little girl really wanted, what she really needed, is the joy of the Lord every day. She needs to bask in the joy of her salvation. If she was saved, of course.

That little girl is me. I need Him every day, every hour, every minute. I want Christ every day. And I have Him.

Wives, Do You Respect Your Husband? Part 3: The Disobedient Husband – When He Doesn’t Love You

“But he does not love me!”

‘So how can I respect him? How can I be nice to him when he just doesn’t care about me?’

It is so sad when Christian wives are asking this. If they have Christian husbands, those husbands should be loving their wives. It sounds so simple, so easy. There could be a few reasons women feel unloved. One, some husbands don’t know how to show affection. They seem cold and distant, yet they may truly love their wives. Secondly, the unloving, disobedient husband may not be a Christian. He may not be born again, regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. So wives, before you whine, stomp your feet and insist that ‘respect must be earned’, let’s ask George, husband of the ages, about this dilemma.

“Her obedience to her husband must proceed from conscience to God. It will not be a sufficient excuse for her to say, “He doth not love me, therefore I will not obey him!” — for not the husband’s affection to her, but her affection to God, must be the great motive to subjection. “If my husband fails in his duty, I suffer; but if I fail in my duty, I sin.” The former is a cross, but the latter is a curse. If the husband does not mind his duty but is wicked, the wife hath the more need to take her responsibility that she may win him (1Peter 3:1-2). Besides, it is God that commands this obedience, and He will reward it.”  — George Swinnock

Make note that your pleasant, willingly loving behavior may lead your unbelieving husband to Christ. John Brown states:

“The cheerful, affectionate, constant performance of all marital duties, especially when it is made quite plain that this is the result of Christian principle, is fitted to make the impression even on unthinking and insensible men.” –John Brown

And George Swinnock says:

“…your language to him and of him will not be rude but respectful. And your attitude will not be pouting and gloomy, frowning and fuming, but such as clothed with the garment of meekness.”

Husband-bashing sessions must stop. A virtuous woman will not gossip about her husband, slander or defame his character. Such behavior is completely disrespectful, or I should say it is irreverent.

William Jay, in Thoughts on Marriage, talks of the wife…

“…who can feel, but retain her composure; who can calmly remonstrate, but know not to insist; who can yield and accommodate; who is not ‘easily provoked,’ but ‘easily entreated;’ who is disposed rather to endure than complain, and to suffer in secret, rather than disturb others with her grief.”

This is definitely a hard thing, this meek and mild, cheerful attitude.

Maybe you’ve had enough of these idealistic Puritans. You want to hear a contemporary view. You want that disobedient husband to be berated as we ‘untamed heifers’ always seem to be. Well, God’s Word has not changed. In a sermon entitled ‘What! Me, Submit To Him?’, 21st century Pastor Steven J. Cole nails it. This is the best exposition I’ve heard on Ephesians 5:22-24 that addresses every question a husband or wife may have about marriage. And he socks it to that insensible, unthinking husband.

Hear this, disobedient husband:

“When a husband treats his wife poorly and puts her down, he is proclaiming heresy, that Christ abuses and puts down His bride. If he is a dictator over his wife, he tells the world that the gentle, loving Christ is a cruel tyrant. When a man abdicates his headship and lets his wife lead, he preaches that Christ does not lovingly shepherd His church and that the church is free to live out from under submission to Christ, again heretical lies. If a husband deserts his wife, either through unfaithfulness or indifference or by being married to his career or hobbies, he preaches that Christ abandons His church, another falsehood. So as married Christians, our witness to a watching world is very much entwined with how we relate as husbands and wives.” — Pastor Steven J. Cole

Wow.

Maybe it seems like meekness means ‘doormat’. Like we need to be mousy and restrained. Just shut up and listen. But wait!

“Submission does not imply passivity. A submissive wife may actively try to influence her husband for God (as 1 Peter 3:1-6 implies). The wife whose husband is disobedient to the Lord is not told to be passive and not influence him. Rather, she is told how to influence him by her quiet and gentle spirit. The Proverbs 31 wife is hardly a model of passivity! A submissive wife needs lovingly and humbly to confront her husband if he is in sin. She needs to communicate her dissatisfaction with her husband’s insensitivity and aloofness. She may need forcefully to express her opinions, so that her husband knows exactly what she thinks. Without honest communication, a marriage cannot grow in intimacy.” — Pastor Steven J. Cole

I was in a Facebook Group whose theme was submissive, obedient wives. One wife asked what she should do in this situation: She was a member of a Christian church and attended regularly with her children and sometimes, her husband. She wasn’t sure of his salvation. Eventually, her husband decided to attend an Eastern Orthodox Church. This wife asked what she should do. Most women answered, ‘go attend the church your husband wants to attend. Be obedient.’ I commented that she should stay in her church where she felt the true Gospel is preached. She should gently explain the difference between Eastern orthodoxy and a true church (and maybe this wife did not know what that is). Christ is her head, she should not disobey Him and go to a false church. Well, I was the only one who advised that way. Every other ‘Christian’ wife said she should obey her husband and switch churches. They should worship together as a family. What???? So mere togetherness in a false religion would be God-glorifying?  Who does a Christian wife obey first, her husband or Jesus Christ, her divine Husband? Jesus overrules in the case of a disobedient husband.

Pastor Cole says:

Submission means that after a thorough, honest sharing of opinions and feelings, if there is still disagreement, the wife must go along with the husband’s decision, as long as it is not sinful. …If your husband asks you to do something that Scripture forbids, you must respectfully decline.

Cole goes on to say that if a husband is dumping his responsibilities, doing drugs or abusing you or the children, you should not passively tolerate his sin. If he is addicted to pornography, he needs to be confronted. Here’s where church membership is crucial. Pastors and elders are there to counsel and help you.

Witness to the world

“…Christian marriage is to be a powerful witness to a selfish world where everyone is fighting for his or her rights. The world should look at Christian marriages and instantly see the difference. They should see a Christian husband tenderly and selflessly loving his wife as Christ loved the Church. The world should see a Christian wife joyfully submitting to and respecting her husband, always seeking his good. …The difference between this picture and the garbage on TV should cause the world to marvel.” — Pastor Steven J. Cole

Consider our Lord Jesus Christ

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones sums up the reason for love (husbands) and respect (wives). This is what we need to drum into our minds and hearts:

…the supreme thing always is to consider our Lord Jesus Christ. If a husband and a wife are together considering Him, you need have no worry about their relationship to each other. Our human relationships and affections and loves are cemented by our common love to Him. If both are living to Him and His glory and His praise, if both have got uppermost in their minds the analogy of Christ and the church, and what He has done for the church that she might be redeemed, and that they, as individuals, might become the children of God — if they are overwhelmed by that thought and governed by it, there will be no danger of their personal relationship meeting with disaster. The headship of the husband will be the same kind of headship as the Headship of Christ over the church. He gave Himself for her, He intercedes for her, His concern is that she may be glorious and spotless and blameless — without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. That is the secret — that we are ever to be looking unto Him and realizing that marriage is but a pale reflection of the relationship between Christ and His church. So the principle of success in marriage is this: “Let this mind be in you which was also  in Christ Jesus.” Husbands, “let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Thank God we are brought into a new life, we are given a new power, and everything is changed — “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Cor. 5:17). All the relationships of life are transfigured and transformed, are elevated and uplifted, and we are enabled to live after the pattern and the example of the Son of God.

Amen.

 

Wives, Do You Respect Your Husband? Part 2: Rule the Roast, Not the Roost!

A little ditty to get us started, for all you country music lovers:

“Do you want me to put the pasta in?” Mike says. He hears a little pot rumbling and assumes I’m not doing my job.

“It’s not a rolling boil yet!” I retort. I hate when Mike interferes with my cooking. The kitchen is my domain.

Imagine the horror when a wife infringes on her husband’s authority and leadership, his domain.

Think Jezebel.

George Swinnock states:

How infamous is that family where the wife, like Jezebel, rules the roast.

Did you know that the phrase ‘rules the roost’ evolved from the 15th century ‘rules the roast’? Here’s the history:

rules the roast

Nowadays, “rules the roost“; originated in the 15th century as rules the roast, which probably meant a person in charge of the roast, who thus ruled the kitchen; this became a metaphor for someone who ruled the home; in this sense, it meant that strong-willed Jezebel ruled the roast, i.e., her home and her weak, controlled husband.

Well, may I just rule the roast? I hope so. I do not want to rule the roost, however.

What does it mean to respect your husband?

First, we need to recognize his authority over us. Let him lead. We shouldn’t be controlling like Jezebel. In today’s culture, we see mostly witchy wives lording over wimpy husbands. Feminism has turned things upside down in marriage and family life.

We need to go beyond respect. Ephesians 5:33 actually says (in the KJV, not in the deceptive postmodern versions):

And the wife see that she reverence her husband. –Ephesians 5:33

According to Merriam-Webster:

Definition of reverence

1 : honor or respect felt or shown : deference; especially : profound adoring awed respect

Definition of Deference – respectful acknowledgement of and submission to another’s authority

profound adoring awed respect!

The Free Grace Broadcaster article written by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones is entitled Reverential Deference. How appropriate! Lloyd-Jones says this about a wife:

She must not compete with him, she must not strive with him; she must recognize that the essence of marriage is that she pays this deference to him.

DSC07210
Free Grace Broadcaster                               Issue 242                   Winter 2017

Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord – 1 Peter 3:5

Ezekiel Hopkins describes the respectful life of the wife and states:

…the man’s titles do imply superiority and authority over the wife. Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (1Peter 3:5). He is likewise called the head and guide of his wife (1Co 11:3; Prov. 2:17).

[Note on superiority – When the Reformers, Puritans and later theological writers used the terms superior and inferior when referring to the relationship between men and women, they spoke in terms of rank, for example, a sergeant to a private, not in terms of human nature. God created both male and female in His image.]

Sara called Abraham ‘lord’. Lloyd- Jones tells us that in the 1800s, wives referred to their husbands as Mr. So and So. Oh, how far we’ve defected from deference!

Hopkins goes on to say that reverence consists in two things:

esteem

She needs to cherish a high esteem of him; if not for his gifts and graces, yet at least for that relation in which he stands to her, as her lord and her head, superior to her by God’s appointment and ordinance. Yea, she must look upon him as that person whom God, out of all the numerous millions of mankind, hath particularly chosen and selected for her: one whom He saw fittest and best to be her head and guide.

fear

not a servile, slavish fear, for that is inconsistent with love; but an awful [profoundly respectful] and a loving fear, which will show itself in two things:

  1. in her care to please him
  2. in her joy in pleasing him and grief in offending him

George Swinnock says:

her fear must be like that of the church to Christ; an acknowledgement of His superiority over her, an unwillingness to displease Him in anything, and a dread lest she should offend Him.

Let’s not forget, wives, that marriage is a display of God’s love toward us. The relationship of husband and wife should be as Christ and the church. There is headship, there is order, there is love and wives, there is reverence!

Swinnock goes on to say that:

Sara called Abraham lord not out of flattery, but to acknowledge his authority; not as desirous to humor his pride, but as willing to know her own place. Jezebel and Zipporah are both stigmatized in holy writ for their saucy sinful language to their husbands. If a woman answers her husband, it must be with humility; if she would advise him, it must be with gentleness; speaks of him, it must be respectfully, if she speaks to him, it must be respectfully.

Oh my,  I stand convicted.

So when Mike, um…Mr. Eddy hears a gentle simmer and asks if he can add the pasta I will sweetly say,

“No, thank you, dear. It needs more time.”

 

Please click the link ‘Free Grace Broadcaster’ above to read the issue A Wife’s Respect online as a pdf, if you so desire.

 

 

 

Wives, Do You Respect Your Husbands? Part 1

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

‘Find out what it means to me’…um, no. We need to find out what it means to RESPECT our husbands. This classic song is still a favorite feminist mantra:

Imagine Sarah singing this to Abraham. Sarah, who called her husband lord. Sock it to me, Mister Abraham doesn’t cut it. This demand for respect does not portray a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). It’s a haughty, self-centered and demanding spirit. Now I’m not saying women were made to be ruled over by tyrants, trampled on or treated as second-class citizens. Women and wives are to be respected, too. But God calls women to respect their husbands while he calls men to love their wives. We’ve already covered God’s created order in the Cherish series. The husband is the head of the wife. For review, start here.

I have been dreading this series. This booklet has been on my nightstand, inserted in my Bible, and buried under a pile of magazines. I’ve been trying to avoid it all winter and now that it’s spring, it popped up again, just like that.

DSC07208

Not so long ago, we whined about not being cherished by our husbands. Now it’s time to confess that we’ve not held to biblical standards in reverencing our husbands. Just as Mike said he doesn’t cherish me enough, I must admit I do not respect him enough.

John Davenant (as quoted by George Swinnock – the man I voted as human husband of the ages!) nails it when he says:

“Affection or love, which is the husband’s chief duty, is pleasant; but subjection or obedience, which is the wife’s main duty, is painful.”

I give that statement a hearty amen.

Davenant goes on to say:

“Subjection is so much against the hair, that many, like untamed heifers, kick and fling if the yoke comes near their necks…”

Just as we used opposite examples in the Cherish series, we’ll do the same here. Here’s a woman who does not respect her husband. For the untamed heifer (and it has nothing to do with her weight) what better example than TV wife Roseanne:

There are many examples of Roseanne disrespecting Dan and ruling over him, but so many of those episodes were too vile to post. Even this one is not quite appropriate (sorry about the bra-clad banshee scene), but it makes the point. This is what inner beauty is NOT. What flows out of her mouth is coming from her wretched heart. And the audience roars. But it actually is the sad state of many families where husbands and fathers are totally disrespected. In fact, most TV dads have been portrayed as imbecilic, effeminate, crude, or a combination of all three. Think Homer Simpson, Al Bundy and so many others…

And so we begin this new series with the question: what does it mean to reverence, submit to, respect your husband? To entice you to follow this blog series, I’ll leave you with another fabulous John Davenant quote:

“An obedient wife is the likeliest woman in the world to command her husband.”

Get it? He will love you, love you, love you the more you submit to him. And don’t we all want to be loved and cherished?

Take heed. Obey your husband. He will cherish you all the more for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day With Old Lovers, Bitter Lovers and JESUS Lovers In An Antique Mall

Valentine Teddy Bear Gift Or PresentIt’s a drizzly, dreary day but love is in the air nonetheless. An older couple comes into the antique mall. They spend a long time looking in every booth. The wife examines things, decides, and unfolds vintage linens to scrutinize them while her husband grunts nearby.

“I love old tablecloths!” I say slyly as I watch her ponder over my assortment of linens. To my delight, she chooses two. She pays no heed to her husband who says,

“You have too many of them.” But really, he doesn’t care. She buys them, along with some Corning Ware and Fire King au gratin dishes.

Ah, love. Husbands and wives shopping together.

A bald man comes in with his lovely going gray-haired wife. I’d say they are at least late fifties, most likely in their sixties. They grab a cart and leisurely breeze through the mall. At last, they arrive at the counter and unload their stuff. I begin wrapping while my co-worker tallies up the goods.

“So what brings you here to our mall on Valentine’s Day?” asks my co-worker, C.

“Actually, it’s our anniversary! We took off work and decided to go antiquing,” the wife says, her face glowing. The four of us chat for a while, about Valentine’s Day, antiques, marriage and grandchildren. They bought vintage children’s books from a series called the Honey Bunch Books, first published in the 1920s. The books, they said, were extra special because their last name is Bunch. Mr. and Mrs. Bunch. So their grandchildren are little Bunches. I love it!

While the Bunches make their purchase, a tall fashion-savvy lady with graying hair is combing the booths. She darts up to the counter, asking if we have some kind of canning pressure cooker. We shake our heads, but she scurries on her quest to find something. I am thinking she needs a little pick-me-up on this Valentine’s Day.

She spots something in a case and I run over with the key to help. “Oh, I thought it was a stop-watch. It’s not. It’s some kind of gauge.” I apologize and empathize with her disappointment. Eventually, she finds something. It is some kind of old kitchen sifter.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” C and I say. “Any plans?”

She makes a noise that is the combination of a guffaw, grunt and laugh. She looks at me and says, “Are you married?” And I say ‘yes’.

“Um, well….” she says with bitterness in her face. Then C tells her,

“I was married for 23 years and then he died.”

And I say, “I was married for 23 years and he left. And now I’m married again.”

The tall nicely dressed lady says, “Well, it’s so hard, especially the second time. My sister did it and I feel so sorry for her. It’s NOT good! There’s so much he didn’t REVEAL to her, until they were married. Like he’s impotent. And he’s got a slew of debt from his CHILDREN’S college loans.” She made such an angry face when she said DEBT from his CHILDREN.

A young man comes in looking for a macrame owl. He says his wife wants one for Valentine’s Day. Remember macrame? It was all the rage in the 70s. We don’t have any but I hope he found one in time to surprise her.

A father in his seventies comes in with his adult son. They are regular customers who collect old model trains. So they stop and chat with us. The dad, a widower on a fixed income, starts complaining about his water bill. I sense something about him, but I’m not sure. The conversation escalates about corrupt politicians, unscrupulous real estate investors, and other complaints.

Then the old man says, “But my HOPE is in JESUS CHRIST.” To which I shout a hearty “AMEN!” I knew there was something about him, something in my spirit bearing witness with his.

C does not really have a clue about our discussion from that point on. I fear she is unsaved. She tells me she goes to a Presbyterian church, just like me. But she goes to the kind that ordain women and never mention our sin. C, who is in her late 60s, has a relationship with her boyfriend but no commitment. I am praying for her.

The old man and I share some truth and babble on about today’s apostasy of American churches. I invite the old man and his son to my church because he says he doesn’t know where to go anymore.

A sharply dressed middle-aged black man wanders through the mall, talking loudly on his cell phone. C and I go off to look at her booth. She wants me to help her redecorate it. We get a little too wrapped up in that. It’s almost closing time.

The black man is waiting patiently at the counter. “We’re so sorry,” C says, “You should have rung the bell!”

“Oh that’s just fine,” he says, “It gave me more time to look around at all this great stuff. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in here.”

“Yes indeed,” I say. I see that he selected a very unusual vintage lamp, 10 vinyl records – Peabo Bryson was on top (and it looked like romantic music), and 2 empty ring boxes.

“Oh boy,” I say, “You’ve got Valentine’s evening all set: soft lighting, romantic music and ring boxes!”

“No, no, no,” he said, laughing. “I’m gonna get me some of that Haagen-Dazs ice cream, some DVDs and just relax…” Ah, a single guy. He threw us a hundred dollar bill and change and went his merry way.

We start shutting the lights. It’s closing time. A pretty young black lady comes in before we get a chance to lock up. “We’re closing,” says C.

“I’m just gonna be one minute,” the young lady says. “I want some cigars that my man likes. The 2 for $25 ones.” (Yes, we sell antiques…and cigars.) She wasn’t exactly sure which ones he likes and we have several that are 2 for $25. We help her decide and say,

“Hope he likes them!”

She says, “Me too! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” we yell back. We lock the door.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the vintage-lover wife with the grunting but obliging husband. And to the young man and his wife who loves macrame owls. Happy Valentine’s Day to the Bunches who celebrated their anniversary today.  Happy Valentine’s Day to the bitter divorcee. I hope she finds real love some day. I hope the Haagen-Dazs tasted really good to the man who bought the lamp, the vinyl records and the ring boxes. Maybe he’ll present a ring to a lady one day. And I hope that man loved the cigars that his girl rushed in for.

An especially Happy Valentine’s Day to the old widower and his son who know and love the only One who loves them with an Everlasting Love. I hope I see them in church Sunday!

 

 

 

 

“Merry Christmas, In Keeping With the Situation…”

DSC07295
My favorite Christmas spot next to our Charlie Brown tree.

These are the words of Scrooge’s maid when she sarcastically declares her greeting to Mr. Scrooge on Christmas morning. I always wondered what that phrase meant ‘in keeping with the situation.’ The Brits have their own quirky phrases and this is indeed one of them. I guess it simply means keeping Christmas, carrying out its usual traditions.

The situation in our household this year has not been conducive to keeping Christmas. I find myself the embodiment of both Scrooge and the Grinch, with a bit of the Abominable thrown in, too. Let me explain, though what follows is no excuse.

I have not kept up well with this blog. Or housework. Or clutter. Or my newly-opened booth space in our local antique mall. I have been overwhelmed with too much on my plate at once. But it’s all my fault. The biggest reason why I haven’t kept up with all my situations is that my dear husband gave me a big gift this year, something I wanted for a long time. We renovated our kitchen! This was my dream in 2015 as we built up some savings. It was my squashed dream in 2016 when cancer happened instead. Alas, our kitchen was demoed on September 11, 2017, (very appropriately), plaster falling in chunks from the old ceiling. Out with the old, in with the new. We have a beautiful old world style kitchen at last. You would think I’d be jumping for joy. Well, yes, sometimes I do. But it was such a struggle to get things done right. So many things went wrong. A most intense trial of patience (three months!) to say the least. So I ended up emotionally exhausted and entirely unprepared for keeping with the situation of Christmas.

Adding to that situation, other things broke while we built a new kitchen, including Mike’s car and two of my back molars!, ugh. I have not been in debt for over ten years and that situation frightens me. Add to that a large disappointment when Mike did not get a new situation at work that would have meant day shift and a raise.

It is December 15 and I don’t feel like keeping with the situation. But what is keeping with the situation of Christmas?

Is it that big fat tree? Is it baking 3 batches of 12 different kinds of cookies? Is it pleasing everyone by fulfilling their wish lists to the max?

As Christians, we know the answer. That’s not what it’s all about, Charlie Brown.

Speaking of Charlie Brown, we have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year. In keeping with the situation of being financially wiped out. Isn’t he delightful? In the pic on the left, Mike has just finished putting plastic on our drafty old windows. He’s installing the new energy-efficient-I-hope drapes I bought, with naked Charlie in the foreground. On the right is Charlie, all decked out. He’s not so bad after all.

I’m rambling right off the cuff today. Mike is on his way to Michigan to visit his parents for Christmas and I’m staying home, because our dog, Pignoli, is having trouble with his back legs and I don’t want him in a kennel or left alone too long. Another sad situation.

Perhaps when Mike gets home, we will cherish one another better. We certainly snipped away at each other during the kitchen renovation.

Merry Christmas, in keeping with the perspective.

And that perspective is this:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. — John 1:14

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 — Luke 2:11

And He is coming again:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. — Matthew 24:30

This is truth. And meditating on Christ, both His first coming and His second coming, is in keeping with the perspective of the Incarnation Celebration.

So when I hear Perry Como sing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, (yes, those old crooners are far better than the twittering Twain and bouncing Beyonce) I will truly feel that REST, COMFORT AND JOY.

In keeping with the perspective, Merry INCARNATION of Jesus Christ! May your heart be filled with COMFORT and JOY in knowing Him as your Savior.

 

 

Wives, Are You Cherished? Part 3

Okay, maybe you don’t get a bouquet of roses every week. And maybe he doesn’t wine and dine you that often, or hold your hand on walks, or whisper sweet nothings in your ear. That’s the stuff of chick flicks, not biblical love and marriage.

Biblical marriage is a beautiful dynamic. Marriage God’s way will have wives feeling protected, provided for, safe and secure. Husbands would be thankful for their good gift from God (their wives). A husband who truly cherishes his wife (now that we know the true meaning) is described below. He is gentle, tender, sympathetic, and cares for her body and soul. Don’t forget God’s order of creation:

The husband is the head of the wife.

[I am ducking just in case a pie comes my way, but if you don’t like that statement, you’ll have to take it up with God because He said it, not me.]

Notes on Ephesians 5 from my 1895 Self Interpreting Bible explain:

v.22: Particularly do you believing wives pay all becoming reverence, honour, subjection, and obedience to your own husbands, who have, by the marriage-bond, devoted themselves to you, as your loving superiors; and always act herein as in the sight and presence of the Lord Christ, from love to his person, in obedience to his authority, and with an eye to his glory, and in the manner in which his people are subject to him. 23. For by the law of nature and marriage, the husband is constituted the head, guide, and guardian of the wife, in a manner somewhat similar to that in which Christ, as Mediator, is constituted the Head, Governor, and Protector of the church — in which relation he is their Saviour and Redeemer from everything sinful and wretched, and to everything truly honourable or happy. 24. As therefore the church is cheerfully and faithfully subject to the authority of Christ in all her spiritual concerns, so let wives, with meekness, willingness and fidelity, be subject to their husbands in all things lawful in the Lord. 25. On the other hand, to procure the kind submission of your wives, see that you husbands never tyrannize over them, or be passionate or bitter against them, but by all gentle carriage, due honour, tender sympathy, and every other form of kind behaviour towards their soul and body, manifest the most endearing and ardent affection, in imitation of Christ, who so loved the church that he freely gave up himself to the most debased service, suffering, and death in her room, and for her spiritual and eternal benefit; 26. that by His blood and Spirit through his Word, he might deliver all men from the guilt, power and pollution of sin, and justify, renew, sanctify, and consecrate them to the service of God.v.27 That having gradually sanctified and adorned them with His spirit and grace, he might in due time, place them in His immediate presence in heaven, entirely freed from every remainder of sin and trouble, holy and happy. Influenced by and in imitation of this peculiar, superlative and abiding love of Christ, husbands ought to love their wives sincerely, constantly, tenderly, and ardently as they do their own bodies…

I hate to stop it there. It’s such an excellent exposition of this portion of scripture. Husbands are guardians of our souls. Some women might have a problem with your loving superiors. Before your feathers get ruffled, this doesn’t mean inequality. It refers to loving leadership, not husbands/males as the superior sex. Men should also take note of the word loving before the word superior. Enough said.

Husbands on Loving Their Wives

It is amazing how much good literature suddenly fell into my lap after deciding to tackle the subject of cherishing! No coincidence, of course. From the Fall Issue of Free Grace Broadcaster, here is

Wisdom from godly men who cherished their wives:

A few favorite quotes (in red) and my two cents follows below each.

“No husband is entitled to say that he is the head of the wife unless he loves his wife. He is not carrying out the Scriptural injunction unless he does so….the reign of the husband is to be a reign and a rule of love; it is a leadership of love.” — David Martyn Lloyd-Jones in ‘A Christlike Love’

This is the superior part: ‘a leadership of love’.

“Have you discovered that your wife has some peculiar temperamental weakness? Have you discovered that she has certain special characteristics? Is she nervous and apprehensive, or is she too outspoken? It does not matter what it is in particular; she has certain characteristics that are, in a sense, weaknesses. What is your reaction to them? Are you irritated or annoyed? And do you tend to condemn them and to dismiss them? Act as you do with your body, says the apostle. Protect her against them, guard her against them. If your wife happens to have been born with that worrying temperament, well, save her from it, protect her. Do everything you can to safeguard her from the weaknesses and the infirmities and the frailties; as you do so for your body, do so for your wife…She is “the weaker vessel”…” — David Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Loving Your Wife As Yourself

I love that. So many husbands get annoyed at their wives shortcomings, fears and weaknesses. Instead, husbands need to help wives with those ‘special characteristics’.

“I ask you to notice what is not always the case with regard to the husband and the wife: the Lord Jesus loves His church unselfishly, that is to say, He never loved her for what she has, but what she is. Nay, I must go further than that and say that He loved her, not so much for what she is, but what He makes her as the object of His love. He loves her not for what comes to Him from her or with her, but for what He is able to bestow upon her. His is the strongest love that ever was, for He has loved uncomeliness until He has changed it into beauty.” — C.H. Spurgeon

I’m so glad Spurgeon makes this point. I hate when wives die and husbands only miss what used to be DONE FOR THEM. That’s not cherishing. That’s living without a MAID. Having your appetites fed on every level is all about YOU. While a wife serving her husband is what wives are supposed to do, she should be valued for much more than her Martha duties. You love having a full belly. But do you love your wife, really? Or do you love only yourself and your creature comforts?

“All things that concern thy wife should be done in love. Thy thoughts should be thoughts of love; thy looks should be looks of love; thy lips, like the honeycomb, should drop nothing but sweetness and love. Thy instructions should be edged with love; thy reprehensions should be sweetened with love; thy carriage and whole conversation towards her should be but the fruit and demonstration of thy love. Oh, how did Christ, Who is thy pattern, love His spouse! His birth, life, and death were but, as it were, a stage whereon the hottest love imaginable, from first to last, acted its part to the life.”– George Swinnock

Wait a minute, George Swinnock sounds like he’s watched some chick flicks! It looks like those gestures, words and demonstrative shows of affection (when genuine!) are the stuff of biblical marriage. George Swinnock cherished his wife. How do I know this? He prayed for her. He prayed for her from the depths of his soul as you can read in the last article of this issue entitled A Husband’s Prayer. This is just a little tidbit of this gem:

“Let her body never want food and raiment, nor her soul the gospel feast, or the robes of Thy Son’s righteousness. And when I die, whomsoever I neglect, if by Thy providence I am able, let me make for her a comfortable provision that when I am happy in heaven, my other half may not, through my unworthiness, be miserable on earth.” — George Swinnock in A Husband’s Prayer

“It is certain the love of a husband to his wife should be above his love to all his relations. Next to God and Christ and his own salvation, his wife calls for the hottest and strongest affection.” — George Swinnock

That George! He gets my vote for (human) Husband of the Ages! Wives, don’t fret. Sisters in Christ, if you don’t have a Swinnock, Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones, remember we all have a Divine Husband in Jesus Christ.

Pray for your husband. Pray that he would grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord and in that process, he comes to cherish you ardently. In the meantime, you may want to order or download this issue of Free Grace Broadcaster called A Husband’s Love. A great gift for husbands! I wonder if the next issue will be Wives, Respect Your Husbands…

Wives, are you cherished? Yes, you are.

Cherish is the word…and I do…cherish you…

credits and other links for further study:

https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Cherish/

https://www.challies.com/articles/treasure-your-marriage/?utm_content=buffer5e47a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

https://rickthomas.net/what-does-it-mean-to-nourish-and-cherish-your-wife/

http://www.deliveredbygrace.com/great-command-husbands/

http://reformedwitnesshour.org/2000/2000may21.html

 

Wives, Are You Cherished? Part 2

DSC05558All wives want to be cherished by their husbands.

If only he showed his love….if only I saw the little proofs, if only he did those little niceties…if only he took time to discover what I like….if only he KNEW ME. If only he LOVED ME.

If only he CHERISHED ME.

When he took his vows, he resolved to cherish you. He stood before God and witnesses. He had good intentions.

To recap, in Part 1, we met three women who were not cherished by their husbands. One was betrayed, another belittled and the last was begrudged.

What exactly does it mean to be cherished? Here is the dictionary meaning of cherish, according to Merriam Webster:

1 a :to hold dear :feel or show affection for

  • cherished her friends

b :to keep or cultivate with care and affection :nurture

  • cherishes his marriage

2 :to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely

  • still cherishes that memory

Highlighted in red are the words that screamed yes! to me. As wives, we want our husbands to hold us dear [in their hearts]. An interesting word is used in b: cultivate, followed by with care. I can’t help but think of a gardener tending his garden. The ground must be cultivated properly to yield beautiful flowers. Care goes into that garden. The flowers need the warmth of the sun. They are nurtured by the sun and the gardener’s tender care. How wonderful that Merriam-Webster uses as the example cherishes his marriage. How many husbands actually nourish and cultivate their marriage? How many cherish their marriage?

On to number 2. How many wives are deeply harbored in their husband’s minds? Resolutely? That would mean he’d be determined to have you in his uttermost thoughts perpetually. Oh my, how wonderful that would be. So he would never forget your anniversary. He would offer to pick up some groceries on his way home. He would not forget what you said to him this morning.

Hang on ladies, this is only the beginning.

Let’s pause for some music:

What a beautiful song about a man who realizes he has not cherished his woman. You see, this post is not meant to bash husbands who fall short of cherishing their wives. Please wives, don’t beat up your husband because he has a hard time showing affection or some other faults. This series on cherishing (and the general theme of this blog) is all about enhancing marriage according to God’s word. There will never be perfection or perfect love between two sinners. But Jesus loves us perfectly. Keep that in mind and don’t despair! Thought I needed to say that before we continue.

Now let’s look at cherish according to the Bible.

I was surprised to find that the Bible mentions cherish/cherished only three times. The first scenario is a bit odd, but it does shed light on the true meaning of cherish. Here it is in 1 Kings:

1 Kings 1:2 | View whole chapter | See verse in context Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.

1 Kings 1:4 | View whole chapter | See verse in context And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.

In explanation of verse 2, my Reformation Heritage Bible says:

let her cherish him. The Hebrew indicates that she will be a nurse for him (v.4)

David was ill and he was cold. The young woman provided him warmth. There was physical contact, but it was not sexual. She simply acted as his caring nurse.

The next time cherish appears is in that great marriage chapter, Ephesians 5:

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Ephesians 5:29 | View whole chapter | See verse in context For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

The last place cherish appears is in Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 2:7 | View whole chapter | See verse in context But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

It’s pretty clear that cherish is synonymous with:

nourish, cultivate, feed, nurse, provide for, care for, attend, treasure, care about deeply, adore, shelter, value….

Are you feeling un-cherished?

SIGH.

Do you wonder why God commands husbands to cherish their wives but wives are to respect their husbands?

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. — Ephesians 5:33

This is such a pivotal verse. I believe that even Reformed Christian churches have begun to lose the concept of male headship in the home. God’s word commands husbands to love their wives. The cherishing role is more the man’s because he cultivates his wife. As the spiritual leader of the household, the Christian husband helps his wife grow, flourish and brings out the best in her. He provides everything she needs, both spiritually and physically.

Go ahead, feminists and so-called Christian egalitarians, hit me with a pie right in the face.

While the woman is the nurturer of children, of hearth and home, her husband must nurture her. Healthy, loving marriages are a result of honoring God’s created order in the roles of men and women.

If both husband and wife heed God’s word, he will cherish and she will feel cherished.

More on that later, so stay tuned for Part 3.

And if you’re planning on hurling a pie at me, make it decadent chocolate.

source: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Cherish/

 

Wives, Are You Cherished? Part 1

This week, Mike and I will celebrate our 5th Anniversary. I asked him if he cherishes me and he hesitated. Then he mumbled something like, “Probably not enough.” It got me thinking. First of all, what exactly does it mean to be cherished? What does the Bible say about cherishing?

Growing up in the 60s I loved a song called Cherish.

Adolescent dreams and romantic schmaltz aside, I must say that

Cherish is the word…no one seems to understand.

But before we define cherish and discover what it’s really like to be cherished, let’s look at examples of women who were not cherished.

Diana, Princess of Wales, longed to be cherished. And she was, by the public, not by her husband. On this 20th Anniversary of her death, we are inundated with documentaries revealing the sordid details of the royal sham their marriage was. She seemed to truly love Charles in the beginning. She loved him when she was a vulnerable chubby-cheeked teenager who still, perhaps, believed in fairy tales despite her own mother’s infidelity and abandonment. It wasn’t long after their 1981 marriage that we saw signs of trouble. A gaunt Diana thrived on public approval while she died inside from neglect. She was definitely not cherished by her husband.

Edith Bunker was not cherished. Archie called her ding-bat in almost every episode. She served him, obeyed him, respected him, but all she ever got from him was insults…well, most of the time. Well I don’t know. Maybe he did cherish her in his own grotesque way. Nah, I don’t think so.

Florence was not cherished by her husband, Chet in the 1952 film The Marrying Kind. (Sorry for using TV and film examples, but they are good ones and I certainly can’t cite real-life couples, though I know many where the wife is not cherished.) So let’s stick to Flo and Chet, whose marriage deteriorated by their 7th anniversary. Why? Because Chet got his head on success, money, get-rich-quick schemes and he lost sight of his wife who he was supposed to be doing it all for. When they were first married, Chet doted on Flo, even telling her to sleep in when he was leaving for work. After a few years, Chet stopped paying attention to his wife, as you will see in the trailer here:

I love this movie. Flo and Chet revisit their marriage in Divorce Court. A kindly (and wise) female judge suspects they still love each other. While recapping their marriage, they seem to have different versions of what really happened. Great line from this movie, quoting Judge Anne B. Carroll:

You know, counselor, there’s an old saying, there are three sides to every story: yours, his, and the truth.

After doing this bit of therapy, they reconcile. The real truth prevailed. Of course today this would never happen. You file for divorce and it goes through the system until your wait period is over and then it gets the beastly stamp of approval. No questions asked. No fault divorce. You want it, you got it. And no one else cares – least of all a judge.

“to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance…”

That word. Cherish. It’s in traditional wedding vows.

We say we don’t feel cherished, but just what is it that proves you are cherished by your husband?

Stay tuned for Part 2 and maybe we will find out.

In the meantime, Mike and I will celebrate 5 blessed years of wedded bliss. We are so thankful for our marriage and the years the Lord has given us thus far.