Summary: Marriage is hard work, but God can help us improve our marriages.

A. I hope you have been encouraged and inspired as we have been addressing the topic of faithfulness this fall.

1. During the first four sermons of the series I tried to drive home the point that God is faithful, and that our faithfulness is to be in response to His faithfulness.

2. I have also tried to impress upon us that faithfulness is not perfection. None of us will ever be perfect, but we can through the power of the Spirit become more consistent and reliable.

3. Since then we have been looking at different aspects of faithfulness. Like faithfulness in attendance. Faithfulness in prayer, service and sharing our faith. Last week, we addressed faithfulness in giving.

4. Today, I want us to think about how we can be more faithful in our marriages.

B. It is interesting to find out what kids think about marriage and falling in love.

1. When asked how you decide who to marry, a 10 year-old girl said, “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all, way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.”

2. An 8 year-old boy said, “I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.”

3. A 10 year-old boy said, “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”

4. When asked why do people fall in love, a 7 year-old boy said, “It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything, and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet.”

C. The younger ones aren’t the only ones that give us a chuckle. The older ones can do so as well.

1. I read about a golden anniversary party that was thrown for an elderly couple.

2. The husband was very moved by the occasion and wanted to tell his wife what he appreciated about her.

3. She was very hard of hearing, however, and often misunderstood what he said.

4. With many family members and friends gathered around, he toasted her and said, “My dear wife, after 50 years I’ve found you tried and true.”

5. Everyone clapped for them, but his wife was a little irritated and asked, “What did you say?”

6. So, he repeated it again, a little more loudly, “After 50 years, I’ve found you tried and true!”

7. His wife, now visually upset, shouted back, “Well, let me tell you something: after 50 years, I tired of you, too!”

8. Certainly, we hope that if all of us make it to our 50th anniversary, that won’t be our feelings.

D. Since we are talking about faithfulness in marriage, I thought it would be good to begin by honoring those who have already had a measure of success by remaining faithfully married for a number of years.

1. Those who have been married at least 10 years, but not yet 20 years, please stand.

2. Those who have been married at least 20 years, but not yet 30 years, please stand.

3. Those who have been married at least 30 years, but not yet 40 years, please stand.

4. Those who have been married at least 40 years, but not yet 50 years, please stand.

5. If you have been married 50 years or more, please stand…if you can!

6. Couples, we salute all of you. Your devotion to one another inspires all of us.

7. Your example sets a standard to which the rest of us can aspire.

E. Allow me to say a special word to some of you who didn’t stand.

1. I know that some of you are single. Others of you are widows or widowers.

2. Some of you are or have been divorced.

3. I am well aware that it is not always comfortable for you when we start talking about marriage in the church.

4. But I hope you understand that we all, regardless of marital circumstances, have a stake in good, long-term marriages.

5. We need to honor faithful marriage even if it is not always our personal experience.

F. Before we go too far into this subject, I want to emphasize that as we address this subject we must speak with clarity and boldness, and with a spirit of gentleness and compassion.

1. The institution of marriage, and God’s plan for it is the same for every one of us, but the experience in marriage is unique to us, because each of us and our marriages are unique.

2. No two people are the same, nor are any two marriages exactly the same.

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