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MARRIAGE: PREPARATION IS KEY
"Promises are no substitute for preparation in marriage. Just because you say 'I Do' does not make you able. Just because you say 'I Do' does not make you capable. It only makes you accountable. And when you are accountable for something you are not capable of doing, you become miserable. Preparation is the key, not promises."
(Andy Stanley in sermon "New rules for Love, Sex and dating: If I were you.")
Victor Frankl, the Jewish psychologist who spent time in a Nazi concentration camp in Germany wrote, "They striped me naked. They took everything -- my wedding ring, watch. I stood there naked and all of a sudden realized at that moment that although they could take everything away from me -- my wife, my family, my possessions -- they could not take away my freedom to choose how I was going to respond."
A NEW LIFE
In an article for Discovery Publishing, Steve Zeisler wrote:
"In many respects the best biological analogy to marriage is the creation of a life. Man and woman each contribute a cell having 23 chromo-somes. The two cells are joined together, and a new human being who has never existed, a unique individual life, is created.
In marriage, when two unique individuals, known and loved by God, are given to each other, another sort of life begins. God creates a living thing that never existed before, a unique oneness. And God cares about the life that he calls into being. God made you and me and we matter to him. But if he makes marriages, they also matter to him, and we ought to regard them that way."
SOURCE: Steve Zeisler, Discovery Publishing.
Paul Brand wrote in the March 4, 1983 issue of "Christianity Today:"
Blood spatters the pages of mythology and of history. Drinking it gives strength and new life: to the ghosts of the dead in The Odyssey, to the Roman epileptics who dashed onto the floor of the Coliseum to quaff the blood of dying gladiators, to Kenya’s Masai tribesmen who still celebrate feast days by drinking blood freshly drawn from a cow or goat.
In early history, blood assumed a mysterious, almost sacred, aura in human relations. An oath held more power than a person’s word, but blood made a contract nearly inviolable. The ancients, unashamed to act out the physical literality of their symbols, would sometimes seal blood contracts by cutting themselves and mingling their blood.
We moderns inherit quaint symbolic tokens of the intrinsic mystery of blood: a wedding ring on the "/leech finger," which was believed to contain a vein that led directly to the heart, or perhaps a child’s game of "blood brothers" in which two participants solemnly and unhygienically act out their undying loyalty. We echo misconceptions, too, when we use such terms as "pure blood," "mixed blood," "blood relations," harking back to the days when blood was assumed to be the substance of heredity.
Even after blood has been analyzed in laboratories and demythologized, it still retains some power, if only in the queasy feeling it evokes when we see it shed. There is something horribly unnatural—to some, physically nauseating-about watching the juice of life seep uncontrollably out of a living body. No wonder religions throughout history have exalted blood to sacral status. A ravaging plague, a minor drought, a desire to triumph over enemies, a decoy for the gods’ anger—anythi...
(THE WIZARD OF OZ)
In the classic fairy tale of Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, the Tin Woodman tells why he wanted a heart. A munchkin girl promised to marry him as soon as he earned enough money, chopping wood, to buy a house. The girl’s mother hired the Witch to stop the wedding. By enchanting the ax, the witch caused the woodsman to slip and cut off his leg; the tinsmith made him a new one. Later the ax cut off the other one, then both arms, and even his head. Each was replaced by tin, and his heart remained in love. In frustration, the witch caused the ax to split him in half, breaking his heart. Only then did the Woodsman conclude, "I had now no heart, so that I lost all my love for the munchkin girl and did not care…" (Autoillustrator.com, "Heart (emotions)")
Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz in their book God is in the Small Stuff for Your Marriage, say, “At the wedding you say, “I do.” After that you should be saying, “We will.”
Winston Churchill kept England stable during the World War 2 bombing raids by emphasizing that “Wars are not won by evacuations.” Likewise, marriages are not kept together by bailing out. Your wedding vows are not multiple choice questions!
"Story writers say that love is concerned only with young people, and the excitement and glamour of romance end at the altar. How blind they are. The best romance is inside marriage;...
Nobody is exempt. David, a man after God’s own heart, succumbed to temptation after reveling in his success.
Build the right hedges of protection around you. (Refer to excerpt from "Hedges" by Jerry Jenkins)
"One of the major causes of marital breakups in the Christian community is the lack of protective hedges that the spouse should plant around theri marriage. Because of the new openness in society to interaction between the sexes, I have placed the following hedges aound my marriage:
Number one, whenever I need to meet or dine or travel with an unrelated woman I make it a threesome. Should an unavoidable last minute complication make this impossible, my wife hears from me first.
Number two, I am carefrul about touching. While I might shake hands or squeeze an arm or shoulder in greeting, I embrace only dear friends or relatives, and only in front of others.
Number three, if I pay a compliment it is on clothing or hair style, not on the person herself. Commenting on a pretty outfit is much different in my opinion than telling her that she herself looks really pretty.
Number four, I avoid flirtation or suggestive conversation even in jest.
Number five, I remind my wife often in writing and orally that I remember my wedding vows."
"Nature never quite goes along with us. She is sombre at weddings, sunny at funerals, and she frowns on ninety-nine out of a hundred picnics."