For Better or Worse

Wow, here it is Tuesday already and I am behind in my posting. I seem to be having a lot of “One of those weeks” lately. How about you? Seems things just are too busy, stressed, plans made and then you can’t follow through because of the fires that pop up and need to be cared for immediately. They can sure put a stress on your life, marriage and family.

Our vows say “for better or worse”. DO you sometimes feel the worse out weighs the better? It may not even be a problem between you and your spouse to begin with, but rather life. Life happens. Plans get all bummed up. The past may come in to haunt us, an accident may happen, sickness, things just unseen ahead of time.

My first husband and I had a good relationship. Great in fact! Yet when we married he was in school and it was rough. I planned on working him through college and seminary before we began our family. HAHA Our first was due on our first anniversary. We had decided I would be a stay at home mom when the children arrived, and now we were being tested. He made $30 a week at a part time job while going to college. I had been supporting us. Ut oh, some “worse” was happening! We kept with our decision and trusted the Lord. He supplied in ways I never thought possible.

By the time seminary was over we had 4 children, no money but God had cared for us. We did not live on welfare, yet had our needs supplied. However, we had also gone through sickness where he lost a year of seminary, layoff at his job and had no income till he found another and numerous other “worse”.

I could go on as to the “worse” we had to deal with over the years until his death, but it was a lot of sticking to the vows and not to feelings.

I am now remarried and there are different kinds of things to deal with. To me living in Texas is a “worse”. I am away from family, it is not very pretty, there are rattlesnakes and all kinds of things that bite or stick you. (On the other hand no snow to deal with!). I have a husband that had been married before and divorced. He has his past and it is now part of me to deal with. Some of the worse most would think. I have to deal with an ex on a weekly basis. Our plans get interrupted because of his past family. (Lest you think he has young children, he does not, they are all married and have families). We still have to deal with it as well as other things. He came with baggage, I come with baggage and this is part of the worse.

Finances, living conditions, anger, loss of job, loss of a child, many things come under the worse banner. I also find the “worse” is different for different people. You may love Texas with it’s rattlesnakes and heat, for you that may be a better, for me it is a worse.

One thing I want to say, and I know many may not agree, part of the worse that you are vowing to should not be abuse. Today there is so much abuse. Maybe it has not changed, we are just more open to talk about it, but I believe it is more. Drugs, drinking, selfcenteredness and sin in general has made abuse so common. Having your life in danger by a spouse is not part of the vow. I believe it calls for a separation and counseling if the spouse is willing to go, or you go alone if not. If your life is in danger, get out. If your kids are being abused, get out.

Better or Worse. We all want the better and dream of the better, but every life has it’s worse times too. Plan on it coming.

One thing to those who are not married yet. I watch some of the court shows on TV. I have them going while I am doing things. Not sure why I do, maybe because I find it so hard to believe that there are people out there like the ones on these shows, yet they are real people. In my mind crazy much of the time, but real. There are a couple of these judges that really impress me. One professes his Christianity without shame. I enjoy him, as he can be really harsh, but usually tries to be fair. Another one is divorce court. I do not sit in front of this taking in everything, however, that judge is so concerned about these people and seems so wise.

She made a statement to a couple that only dated about a week before marrying. Her warning and advice was to all those thinking of marriage. She said : Make a list of your prospective spouse and write down 10 things you do not like about that person.

I thought that she was being strange at first, but then listened. She said if you do not know 10 thinks that are negatives you do not know them well enough to marry. Everyone has 10 negatives… at least.

Then look at your list. Can you live with those negatives? Be they personal, his/her family, his/her habits etc. Can you live with them if they NEVER improve?

For better or worse. Believe me, the worse will come. Stick with your vows and turn the worse into something to bring you closer to each other.

Wedded

We looked at the vow we make at our wedding ceremony in a previous post and today I would like to look at some of the promises we made when we were making that vow. Wedded husband, wedded wife. I thought about this and wondered why we say that, of course we are marrying them and this is a wedding, seems so obvious to me. I looked up the etymology of the word “wedded”. Here is what I found:
Wedded:

Middle English wedden, from Old English weddian; akin to Middle High German wetten to pledge, Old English wedd pledge, Old High German wetti, Gothic wadi, Latin vad-, vas bail, security.
Pledge seemed obvious, but Bail? Security? What is bail? Again I went to the dictionary and found out it is

to remove from danger or harm “the government bailed out the savings and loan industry”.

In marrying someone and pledging our vow to be their wedded husband or wedded wife we are also saying we are their bail, their safety net. I must admit there is much security in having someone going through life with you. When you are down, usually they are there to help you up, and vice versa. We are pledging our support, our becoming one with this other person and to be there for them no matter what happens.

Wedded, even the word itself says a lot about the strength of the vow we are making.

Next we see : to have and to hold from this day forward.

Have.I have a computer, I have a pen, I have a husband. But wait! It is more than that. Again, I consulted Mr. Webster:

a: to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement
b: to hold in one’s use, service, regard, or at one’s disposal
c: to hold, include, or contain as a part or whole

Simple word like have, and look what is involved! We are vowing that we are their possession and they are ours, we will be at their disposal and they at ours. YIKES! What are we getting ourselves into?
Wait! it gets better, we not only say “have” but we say “and to hold”

Hold:
a: to have possession or ownership of or have at one’s disposal
b: to have as a privilege or position of responsibility
c: to have as a mark of distinction

There are some of the same ideas with have and hold, but one is reinforcing the other in the strength of the pledge.

I want to say something here, to have at ones possession or disposal does not allow for abuse, but rather a unity. We will look at more of the pledge and especially of love itself in a future post, but I do not want anyone to think that because your husband or wife made a pledge of marriage to you that you have the right to be bossy or abusive (physically or emotionally).

It is a marriage, a becoming one flesh as God put it, a unity. I am hoping that we can all strive for that unity, a God centered marriage and family.

Mistakes Christians Make in Love

Last night I was laying there awake at 3 AM. I had a dream that woke me and then I dozed off and had another dream on the same line as the first. Something out of the ordinary, nothing I was thinking about at bed. By now I was more awake. When this happens I pray and think. Last night God brought to mind a fellow blogger that is currently going through something I experienced and know too well how she feels. I prayed for her for some time, then my mind went to some other thoughts.

As I laid there thinking about something that was brought to my attention this week I realized that it is something that I need to discuss here.

Christians are getting very caught up in what the world says instead of what God says. One of the biggest areas I see is with the family, with love, and with commitment. Remember the little ditty sung by school kids: “first comes love, next comes marriage then comes _____ with a baby carriage”? Today it is all messed up. I think there are many out there that have never heard that because it has long since been considered out dated. However, it is not out dated with God. God still has those priorities. He calls sex outside of marriage “adultery, fornication and whoremonging”. Living together before marriage, sex with someone not your spouse and a same sex relationship are all out of God’s will and commands. We can’t expect His blessing.

Today we see all of these among Christians who claim to be following the Lord. If you are really a born again Christian and are in one of these relationships you will, sooner or later, be chastised by the Lord. Unhappiness, guilt ( the biggie that comes out in different ways) or an uneasiness. If it is an extra marital affair you can be sure that if they cheated with you they will cheat on you at some point.

My heart has gone out to couples who love the Lord and are caught up in these types of relationship or lifestyle. This week someone we know has had their partner walk out. The hurt is there. With no marriage bond, she just left him with no recourse.

Another place Christians get caught up is in marrying the wrong person. In Corinthians it says to not be equally yoked with unbelievers. How many ignore that command? They think it will work, they think they can change him or her and win them for the Lord. It is a command, DON’T Do It! Yet we think we know more than God.

Ever see oxen pulling a wagon or plow? They pick two about the same size, even strength or else the cart or plow will go in circles.
A Christian and a non-Christian have two different goals, two different destinations. The Christian: living for the Lord and heaven, the non-Christian: living for self and hell. It is like a tug of war game each one having different goals and destination.

Again, you can’t change your spouse, only God can. Disobedience will not bring blessing.

If you are a Born again Christian, God has a lifestyle for you. Vows, proper steps and blessing are all part of it.

Marriage Vows

When I married the vows I made were as follows:

My Husband said:

“I, Rick,
Take you, Peggie,
To be my wedded wife;
To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to honor,
‘Till death do us part.”

My response was:

“I, Peggie,
Take you, Rick,
To be my wedded husband;
To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love, honor and obey,
‘Till death do us part.”

I am sure in some way or other your vows were similar. Yet how many of us will sometimes, even secretly, think of breaking those vows. I mean “till death do us part” is a long time! For better or worse, wow!

I want to look at our vows over the next few posts. See what is really in a marriage vow. Today I want to look at what a vow is, since we make one when we marry we need to know what we made or are going to make.

Merriam Webster defines a vow as:

a solemn[serious] promise or assertion; specifically : one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition. (brackets mine from his synonym for solemn)

When we make a vow it is not to be done lightly. It is a binding to act, binding to a condition (marriage) and binding to a person (our spouse). The Bible says our word should be truth, and that our vows should be kept.

Today too many people do not take their vows seriously. We have disposable marriages. Statistics are not good for people getting married today (and progressively worse for 2nd, 3rd etc marriages) as they do not understand or want to go into it knowing it is something till death do us part. Is your word worth anything? Do you mean what you say? Have you thought through what you did the day you married?

Take a look at your vows, if you are married. If you are not, really contemplate those vows before you step into a life long relationship. Remember, you make those pledges before people. sometimes many people, but more importantly you make them before God. You will need to answer to Him someday for the vows you have made.