Greetings and blessings from the great people of the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. We invite you to join me, I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor, and the disciples of St. Paul to worship with us this weekend. We celebrate Christ every Sunday at 8:30 AM and 10:45 AM. Come by and join your friends and neighbors as we rejoice in God’s Word for our lives. You can be sure that this congregation is one “Where God’s Word Is Heard” without being diluted to fit in.
Karen and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary this past Wednesday. I made sure we could spend the day together. I also gave her the choice as to whether she wanted to go out for dinner at a nice restaurant or if I should do my magic in the kitchen and prepare a feast at home. She chose at home and dined on a large, succulent lobster, fresh baked French rolls, and tequila berry salad with house dressing (my cookbook). I willingly suffered with some beef tenderloin. All of which was accompanied by a quality bottle of cabernet from Becker vineyards. With the aid of some nice jewelry, a heart pendant with chain and a ring, my contract was renewed for another year and maybe even beyond if I continue to provide fine dining in the Harder household.
I could spend another 48 years with her and be as happy as anyone could be, but I don’t think my body will last out that long. Mind you, I pray every night by thanking God for the day and for this wonderful, loving woman that has graced me with her love for this long. ( I can be a challenge.) In addition, I am not bashful about asking for as many years as He will bless us with being together. As the saying goes, “Ain’t love grand!” With Karen, it is.
When I look at the state of marriage in our culture today, I am amazed at the fact we are still together. More than that, we are more in love with each other now that we were 48 years ago. Sure we had our fights years ago when we were younger and foolish, but today we seldom disagree, much less fight. In fact, we have our recliners positioned so that they are next to each other allowing us to actually hold hands while watching TV. Silly? Maybe to some. A joy for us? Absolutely! Should have done it years ago.
We got to this point in our marriage because God was with us and watched over us because we asked Him to be there and He was. He was there through the rough, poor years of marriage when we had to count pennies, through raising three kids and the decision for her to stay at home to bring them up right in a home where one parent was always there and the other was close by (Yes, it meant we couldn’t have all the stuff, go out every night, drive a new car, and more, but we didn’t care.), through one heart attack, almost dying & to a brain bleed that meant months of recovery, God was there for us. There’s more, but I think I made my point. Our marriage wasn’t just the union of one woman and one man, but a trinity of us with God ever present.
We worked at our marriage every day because we loved one another. We didn’t face the challenges alone, we had each other, but more importantly, we had God helping us, guiding us, loving us as we loved Him. I wonder if those getting married today have that kind of relationship with each other and with God? Why is the divorce rate in our country at 50% or more? A marriage takes effort to be successful and happy by both parties. It takes work.
This popular notion that after one gets marriage he can still have his friends, male and female, and she can have her friends, male and female, is a recipe for disaster. And don’t get me started on the insane idea that each partner in a marriage needs to have guy or gal time alone. That may come later, but it is a great way to build in a breakup in the early stages of a marriage when one should be focused on being of one flesh.
We always found that having “our” friends, usually other couples younger, our age, or older, proved a blessing that gave us people to share fun and fellowship with on a regular basis. We got to go out (to their home for cards and a meal or snacks along with some adult beverages) and to entertain (as they did the same at our house). It was fun, it was cheap, it built relationships.
Love in a marriage grows, but growth needs the proper care to become something extraordinary, something that stands the tests of time. Each level of a loving relationship is special and should be treasured, but it takes a while for couples just entering marriage time to learn that lesson. I can tell you about it, but until you have experienced it for yourself you probably won’t believe me. I cannot urge couples getting married today enough, make God a part of everything you do. Love each other with your heart and soul and mind and strength and, more importantly, God in the same ways. He won’t let you down.
And those are my thoughts.
Have a great week and God’s blessings.
Pastor Lee R. Harder