Maintaining health of marriage

Dave Hinman - Contributing Columnist

Four churches are participating in the Sermon Series Keeping Marriage in February. Dove Church, Faith Family Church, First Church of God, and Wilmington Church of Christ will explore how all followers of Christ should fulfill their responsibilities to keep marriage. Visit one of the churches listed during the month of February and listen to these messages, join question and discussion groups, have an opportunity to win a weekend marriage retreat, and/or participate in a three-week marriage seminar.

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day, a holiday noted for cherubic cupids, red hearts pierced by their arrows, romantic cards, flowers and chocolate candy. Originally a liturgical celebration named after Saint Valentine, Feb.14 is still designated a feast day in the Anglican Communion and Eastern Orthodox Church.

For most everyone else Valentine’s Day is wholly secularized now, but still serves to prompt the expression of love for those most endeared by us. And that is healthy.

Keeping marriage healthy is the topic I’m honored to talk about at the four Wilmington churches doing the Keeping Marriage series. Though there are many facets to maintaining health in marriage, there are three I’m going to highlight here: acknowledging God, submitting to one another, and persevering in love.

(1) Acknowledging God: Our nation’s cultural assault on marriage is deliberately dismantling the Biblical standard for it, and only God can restore sanctity to this holy union. Acknowledging God as the foundation of marriage is fundamental to its being healthy. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” The path to a truly healthy marriage must be forged in unison with God. Both husband and wife need to invite God to join them as the third person in their union. Ecclesiastes 4:12 notes: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

(2) Submitting to one another: The word “submission” has gotten a bad rap. The connotation is subservient, weak and devalued, but Biblical submission is anything but that. Submission requires selflessness, strength and vision. For husbands and wives to achieve their potential, both as individuals and collaboratively as a couple, requires the willingness to sacrifice oneself to uphold the other. Paul prefaced his instruction about the roles of husband and wife in marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33) by writing: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (verse 21). Please note the wording: “to one another”.

(3) Persevering in love: 1 Corinthians 13, the magnificent love chapter recited frequently at weddings, states definitively in verse 8 that “love never fails”. The word “never” literally means never; no exceptions; no ifs, ands, or buts. Love NEVER fails. So a pledge to continue loving regardless of circumstance is prerequisite to marital health. Though there will be times when the feeling of love disappears, genuine love is much deeper than emotion. It is a commitment. A healthy marriage requires wholehearted dedication to one another, even when the emotion ebbs. Love perseveres. Love never fails.

It’s not possible to adequately convey these concepts of marital health in this brief format, but I will be speaking on the topic this Sunday, Feb. 14 at the First Church of God; at Faith Family Church on Sunday, Feb. 21; and at the Wilmington Church of Christ on Sunday, Feb. 28. Would you join us? I would love the opportunity to share with you in person.

Dave Hinman is Pastoral Elder at DOVE Church Wilmington.

Dave Hinman

Contributing Columnist