“How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights!” – Song of Songs 7:6
It’s Fourth of July week–when those of us in America will celebrate the beginning of the United States as a nation. Many of us will spend this day enjoying a barbeque picnic with our family and end the festivities watching fireworks explode in the sky.
Fireworks represent the celebration that took place on July 4, 1776. They also represent the cannon fire seen by Francis Scott Key over the Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812 when America protected its independence from Britain. The site of this cannon fire was used by Key to write the words to the poem that would become our national anthem–“The Star Spangled Banner.”
Now what does this history lesson have to do with marriage?
Setting Off Fireworks
One of the things that has come to represent passionate love, that I am sure our forefathers and Francis Scott Key never would have thought about, is fireworks.
You’ve probably seen it on TV or in movies. A couple in love kiss each other, and over their heads shoot fireworks. Romantic love and fireworks have become synonymous with each other.
On the evening of July 4, 1978, Sabra and I flew home from our honeymoon. As we drove home from the airport, we could see the annual fireworks display exploding in the clear night sky. What an appropriate welcome, I thought, for a young couple returning from their honeymoon, so much in love.
Well, we just celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. And Sabra still sets off fireworks in me all these years later. I love her more today than ever. And that’s exactly how God intends every marriage to be.
The world’s “wisdom” tells us that over time our marriages become stale, our bodies age, and we aren’t as attractive to each other. We take each other for granted, we don’t talk to each other as much or as sweetly, and so forth.
But marriage doesn’t have to be this way.
Do you think God–Who created us and Who created marriage—intends for our marriages to become stale? Here are just a few passages from His Word for married couples…
“He: ‘How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.’ She: ‘How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant (green, fresh, vibrant).’” – Song of Songs 1:15-16
“He: ‘How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights!’” – Song of Songs 7:6
“She: ‘I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.’” – Song of Songs 7:10
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” – Song of Songs 8:6-7
“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer–may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.” – Proverbs 5:18-19
Now that sounds like fireworks to me! God intends our love for each other as husband and wife to grow ever stronger as the years go by.
By His Grace
As time has passed since those fireworks exploded over our heads as we returned from our honeymoon, the love Sabra and I share has only grown. How could that be? There is only one answer–God and His grace.
I know beyond any doubt that it is only His grace that has brought us to where we are today—His grace that saved us both through faith in Him.
His grace has allowed me to see Sabra as the gift from God she is, as He states in Proverbs 31:10-11: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” And His grace has allowed Sabra to be the wife God describes in Proverbs 31:12: “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
God’s grace allows us to overlook each other’s faults and focus on the blessings. It is His grace that helps us view life through His eyes and appreciate what He has given us.
With Determined Effort
As the years pass, we have to do our part to keep the fireworks exploding in our marriage relationship. We need to make certain we never stop touching, talking, holding hands, gazing into one another’s eyes, saying “I love you,” and going out for fun and romantic times. These are as important today to Sabra and me in our midlife (late midlife) years as when we were twenty year olds.
My wife has always done such a wonderful job doing this. A good example is the card she gave me for our recent wedding anniversary. She clearly took time selecting it. It told how thankful she was that God had entrusted her with me. The card included the line: “I’m still amazed that out of all the women in the world, I’m the one who gets to share life with you.” Then she wrote at the end: “I am incredibly blessed to be your wife. Thank you for choosing me! I love you!” Now if that doesn’t set off fireworks, nothing will.
But first and foremost, we must keep Christ the center of our lives and marriages. Spending time each week studying God’s Word together and praying together is essential. That’s what led us to develop Couple Connect, a tool we use each week to help us stay connected and grow closer to each other and the Lord. (To find out how to design your own weekly time for this purpose, download our free ebook here: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.)
Throughout our marriage, Sabra and I have been through many joyful times–the births of our two children, ministering together, trips together, etc. We have also been through difficult times– severe illnesses, deaths of loved ones, tight finances, etc. But our gracious Lord has been with us every step of the way and has used them all to draw us closer to Him and to each other. And He wants to do the same for you.
Every marriage goes through the good and the bad, the joy and the struggles. With God by our side, guiding us and giving us His grace, we can grow in our walk with Him and grow ever closer to one another…and keep those beautiful fireworks exploding every day of our lives.
Questions for Discussion
- Read and discuss together this week’s teaching. Did God bring anything to your attention about your own marriage?
- What does romance mean to each of you? You may be surprised at what your spouse comes up with. Now discuss things you might do to make these part of your times together.
- Each of you answer this question: What are your favorite memories of a romantic time with your spouse? What could you do to recapture those? What new memories would you like to make? Schedule a time to do at least one of these.
- If you do not already do so, commit to each other that you will study God’s Word and pray together as a regular part of your weekly schedule. Schedule your next devotion time together.
- As you close this time, pray and ask God to help you do what He teaches to keep the fireworks in your marriage. Pray that He will help you follow through on any commitments you have made today to Him and each other.
Next week, we will begin a new series on one of Jesus’ teachings–the parable of the sower–and see how it speaks to our marriages. If you want to get a head start and read it before then. It is found in Matthew 13:1-9.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.