Peg and I have been married for a few months more than 55 years. That is a bit unusual, today ... perhaps because lots of folks don't get married so young and then live this long ... but regardless, we do seem to be somewhat of an exception to the norm.
That really stands out in light of the fact that we don't hang around old people very much. Peg has always had a burden to mentor younger ladies ... as the Bible instructs ... and I have always been drawn to younger married couples, and passing on all the things I've learned over the years, that they haven't seen yet.
You know .. the old bit about getting your good judgment from your experience, but your experience from your bad judgment.
Then there's the more recently-realized fact that Jesus came to make an abundant life
available to us, and just like a devoted parent buying presents for his children, he wants us
that abundant life. And, that comes from simply doing what He said to do. Being what He enables us to be
. That seems evident to me in a brief passage in John 14 ... Jesus speaking ... in which He said:
- Verse 21: "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me"
And then again ...
- Verse 23: "Anyone who loves me will obey My teaching."
It seems to me that obeying His commands is a matter of doing what He said to do, or not doing what He said not to do, but obeying His teachings seems more a matter of who we are and how we live and what our motivations are ... as pointed out in Proverbs 16:3.
Part of the abundant life is heeding all the instructions in the Bible about how to be married. How to live in a marriage of obedience to God.
One thing that comes to mind is that, every morning after breakfast, Peg and I play a game of Phase 10. It's a game with 10 dice, in which we score points by rolling various combinations, called "Phases". The scoresheets that came with the game were miniscule, not well suited to a hamhanded guy like yours truly, so our younger son Brad made us one in XCel. It features 8 scoring columns, so it's good for 4 games for Peg & me.
Sometimes, one of us will win all 4 games on a sheet, other times a 3/1, 2/2, 1/3, or 0/4 split the other way. It's a lot of fun. But when the 4th game is over, we always throw away the score sheet.
See, it's not about who won or lost, but the joy of the company and the fun of playing (and sometimes the incredibly ironic things that can happen).
That seems Biblical. 1 Corinthians 13 puts it as follows:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs."
We don't need no stinkin' records. We just need the fun of the company and the game.
We started taking photographs pretty early in our marriage. So we've got a lot of great memories captured permanently on film ... and in electrons. My "Pics" folder, and the Alaska Trip folder, contain 40,634 pictures. They are, almost without exceptions, representative of happy moments. You may have seen some of them on Facebook; I put some interesting or unique pictures up there, usually from some other area, now & then.
Here's an example, taken in April of 2000, leaning on a fence which was keeping us from falling into a 2000' ravine in the French Alps. That causes some folks to wonder if we're spending all our time, traveling, which we're not. I'm just dredging up old photos. And old happy memories.
Can you see the wisdom in what God said? Keeping no record of wrongs? As the Apostle Paul told the Philippians:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ... think about such things.
Paul sure knew what He was talking about. Which is why The Author included it in The Book.
So. Throw out the scorecards. And hang onto ... and look at ... those photos.