Time: Every Marriage’s Friend and Foe
Ever heard of Daniel Frederick and Susan Bateman? No? That’s okay. They aren’t movie stars or government leaders or megachurch founders. Their lives are significant, however. They were married on August 29, 1772, and till death did they part, 91 years and 12 days later. Daniel and Susan represent history’s longest recorded marriage (since Methuselah and the gang at least).
Now you have something to shoot for, if you want to shoot for it, that is. For some marriages, 91 years would be a gift – a gracious extension to a blessed union. For others, it may be like the curse of immortality for the suffering.
Time can be a marriage’s worst enemy. How so?
- When there is little love and no romance.
- When a marriage goes months or even years without sexual intimacy.
- When husbands and wives choose to hold on to resentment.
- When we keep secrets and protect turf.
- When we never say, “I love you,” or “I’m sorry,” or “I appreciate you.”
Time has a means of sealing in our bitterness like moss in the crack of a sidewalk. Hearts that have hardened only get harder with time.
On the other hand, time can also be a marriage’s best friend, if we choose to allow it.
God isn’t subject to time. He invented it. He started the clock and He’ll stop it someday. And He exists completely independently of the onward march of history. But He is directly involved in it. He’s chosen to use time as a tool for the unfolding of His redemptive plan for a lost planet. And He wants to use time as a tool in your life and in your marriage too.
Pastor Rick Warren often says that you can grow a mushroom overnight, but an oak tree takes decades, and God is interested in growing us like oak trees. Most newlyweds need to hear this truth. Young love is great! I still remember with great clarity the sight of my bride rounding the corner and stepping through the open doors with her hand in her father’s on the way to the altar to say a sweet “I will” to me. It was a beautiful day with a beautiful woman, but God knew that He would be growing us over the next sixteen years (and counting) into something we weren’t yet then.
The road of marriage has plenty of bumps and bruises. We let each other down. We hold each other up. We rest in times of peace and we weather storms together. And through thick and thin, sickness and health, better and worse, God molds us like a patient potter into a portrait of His grace, of the gospel, for all the world to behold. Or as Gungor says,
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Is time a friend or foe to your marriage today? It depends on how you answer two other vital questions. First, are you cultivating a great marriage? In other words, are you remaining repentant, depending on the Holy Spirit, exploring the adventure of life, dying to self, and growing in your love for each other?
The second question is equally as important - are you willing to stick it out? Will you stay? Will you forgive? Will you show grace and mercy and forgiveness? Will you demonstrate love and show respect? Will you commit to stay together through the storms? If so, time can become your very best friend.