[forthright] Protecting Our Marriage

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2010 04:32:42 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

Richard Mansel invites you to come visit 
his new, "Moving Word" blog. 


Protecting Our Marriage
 by Richard Mansel, managing editor

Jake and Lesa labored to build their fortress. The
blankets stretched over the chairs, until the
kindergartners could crawl underneath, without any
light showing through. They turned on their
flashlights, rejoicing in their safety.

Years passed, Jake and Lesa were sweethearts in
college. They had ostensibly been together since birth,
growing up on the same street. Their love for one
another was tender and sweet. They had friends and a
lot of success academically and were happy together.

However, not all was well, as time progressed. One day,
with broken hearts, they sat before their preacher,
seeking advice. The scared young couple sat apart,
unable to get near each other.

Through a series of exploratory questions, he
determined that Jake and Lesa were facing opposition to
their relationship. Both of them had friends who were
pressuring them to break up.

They had always been together and they needed to play
the field, their friends argued. Additionally, they
were always together and their friends were jealous.
The tension was palpable, despite their families’

The young couple watched movies and TV and saw rampant
infidelity. The thrill of new conquests faced them
everywhere they went. Their confused minds wondered if
they were being delusional in their goals.

The preacher cared for these young people, having
watched them grow. His concern for them deepened and he
contemplated his words carefully.

They needed to realize some things, he said. If they
would survive as a couple, they must stubbornly remain
together and refuse to break up.

Their relationship did not belong to anyone else.
People will try to break them apart for jealousy and
for the thrill of the conquest. No matter what, they
must remain focused on their goals.

They must understand that Hollywood does not know
anything about a good marriage. The world offers
adultery, heartache, divorce and pain. If Jake and Lesa
were to succeed, it will be because they refused to
listen to these supreme failures.

"How," Lesa asked in a quiet voice, "do we stay
together, when so many marriages go bad? We aren't even
married. Already we are having problems."

"Fifty years is a long time! How do you do it?" Jake
exclaimed in a nervous laugh.

"You don’t have to do fifty years. You only have to do
one day."

Puzzled looks flashed across their faces.

"Every day you decide to make your marriage great.
Today, you choose to create something wonderful for
your spouse. The next day, you do it again. You make
every single day wonderful and fifty years will show up
soon enough."

   "It is like athletes who refuse to lose a
   game. They give it everything they have to
   win. They leave everything on the field or
   the court. Nothing else matters. God has
   given you all that you need to be a success
   in your marriage. Use it. Immerse yourselves
   in God's Word and in prayer. You can do it.
   What's more, God believes in you. What else
   do you need?"

The young couple's body language began to change, as
they relaxed. Their fingers moved towards their loved
one's hand. They began to scoot closer together. They
could do this.

The preacher read them a passage that would forever
reverberate in their heads. "God is their refuge and
strength, A very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1,

Suddenly, they were six again, safely ensconced under
their fortress tent; their refuge, where their light,
the Lord of their lives (John 8:12), illuminated the
path to a happy marriage, free from the wicked darkness
(1 John 1:5).

They could do nothing but smile!

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