When we said I do, we agreed to love our husbands regardless of our circumstances, our moods, and our opportunities. We said “I Do” to an ongoing mystery of unpredictable future events. This marriage will be a marathon of enduring love.
Love endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
My husband’s parents postponed their wedding. Doctors advised them not to get married because he had thyroid cancer. She waited for him in Louisiana while he recovered from three radical neck surgeries in New York City. The prognosis was grim. But they married anyway.
During surgery, Mr. White’s vocal chord was damaged. With great apologies, the doctor told him he would never be able to talk above a whisper.
The doctors advised them to never have children because he would not likely live to raise them. But after five years of cancer-free check ups, they began their family. My husband, David, is their youngest child.
This month, we are celebrating their 67th anniversary!
Their enduring love story is a great treasure to me. Their decision to believe, to hope, and to love, produced many beautiful things including my husband. The damage to his vocal chord was real but it did not produce the devastating results the doctors predicted. My father-in-law taught Sunday school for sixty years!
In their holy union, I see the glory of God’s love trumping every obstacle that life brought against them. Together, they have endured many challenges including her breast cancer, the death of a granddaughter, and much more. Last year, at the age of eighty-eight, he had another cancer surgery. After five days, he left the hospital wanting to walk in the door of his home and surprise his wife. I watched them embrace, both of them giggling with delight to finally be together again.
Where did they find the energy to love each other consistently for sixty-seven years? How many times could they been tempted to be bitter, resentful, and discouraged in the last six decades?
This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ’s mighty energy is at work within me. Colossians 1:29 TLB
Paul’s work was to help the Church understand that their hope and their glory would be found in Christ living in them (Colossians 1:25-28). He was successful despite the beatings, shipwrecks and imprisonments. Why? Because he trained himself to let Christ empower him.
Our merciful Savior, Jesus, has chosen to endure His Bride’s failings to love, honor, and obey Him. He loves us. He loves imperfect people. He does not shy away from weaknesses.
He lives in us and brings His glory into us. Part of His glory is strength – the strength to endure.
We are praying, too, that you will be filled with his mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens—always full of the joy of the Lord. Colossians 1:11 TLB
Our hope of a life-long marriage is anchored each time we rely on Christ’s strength at work in us.
Marathon runners train. They know when to run and when to rest. They know what to eat for maximum performance. As wives, we must also train ourselves for the endurance race of marriage. We practice inviting Christ to empower us with His unlimited resources.
When we find ourselves exhausted and discouraged, we can simply invite God to fill us with a fresh portion of His patience and self-control. If we hear in our words, a lack of love and gentleness, we can boast about it to God and invite His power to rest on us in that weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). If we are tempted to be unfaithful or unkind, we can reach for Jesus’ faithfulness and kindness through prayer.
On the good days in marriage, we can praise the One who has given us His own joy and peace. We can proactively pray for a marriage filled with the fruits of His Spirit.
Our work is to believe He is able to fill us with His love and to ask Him to do it.
Generous Lord Jesus, fill each of us with Your unlimited power to run the race You have set before us. Amen
Who is your model for enduring faithfulness in marriage?
Want to be encouraged and equipped in your role as a wife? Join us for the Wisdom for Wives On-line Conference! For more information and to sign up, click here.