Nine years ago today, Crystal and I were married. Nine years is a not-so-long/really-long time.
Looking back over the past nine years is like looking across a mountain gorge. The distance isn’t too far, but to arrive at the other side can be quite the journey! Our path has led us through some fairly dark valleys and before some incredible vistas. As I mentally retrace the steps of our marriage there is much time there, but it seems like such a short distance. In my mind I can walk through moments and events, school semesters and pregnancy trimesters, early months and first years.
In some ways I think I could have imagined standing where I am on this promontory. Our lives have followed a fairly defined path – school, marriage, international ministry, more school, ministry, child, international ministry. I could have guessed that. But as for the path we have walked, I saw no map before hand.
And that is good. God has graciously given us a vision for a general place he wants us to be, but he has given us himself and each other as we walk the sometimes steep path it takes to get there.
I am so thankful that I have had the not-so-long/really-long time with Crystal. God knew that I needed her for my good and his glory. This truth makes me even more excited for the coming years!
Binney, Jim. The Ministry of Marriage. Greenville: JourneyForth, 2003.
Paperback: 232 pages
Point: Binney wants to give couples hope for marriage, whether their marriage is struggling or whether a couple is thinking about marriage in the future. He shows how solutions to problems in marriage must be Christ-centered. Marriage must be looked upon as a ministry in our lives.
Agreement: Binney has some great chapters on what real love is, myths about love and marriage, why some people marry, and different aspects and ministries in marriage.
Disagreement: There are several chapters in which Binney seems to merge into the popular lingo of using “needs” for certain aspects of marriage. I would agree that what he calls “needs” are important, but we must realize that we can still have fruitful lives doing what Christ calls us to do without having our spouse or others in our lives fulfill what many call “needs.”
Personal App: Am I working on loving my spouse, since love is more than just feelings?
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it with some reservations.
Five years ago today we said our vows and kissed. We were proclaimed to be man and wife before our families, friends, country, church, and God.
Although we had known each other for over five years, we began a journey which would deepen our relationship in ways we never would have guessed. As I look back at the last five years I cannot thank God enough for Crystal. There are so many traits that she possesses which proclaim that she is a child of the King, that she lives for something greater. She inspires me to love God and others more. There are so many areas where I would be completely lost without her (like downtown Minneapolis!). Last night we had a cookie baking activity which took place without any explosions, burns, or cookies that taste like chalk (all of which contribute to good activities, but a little stressful if all together). That can only be attributed to her careful planning and patient servanthood. She keeps our home in a state of simple and appealing usability. It is clean, organized, and tasteful. I never wonder if our home is presentable for visitors. I could not ask for a better helper, encourager, spouse, or friend. She means the world to me.
The Mission-Minded Family: Releasing Your Family to God’s Destiny
by Ann Dunagan
Paperback: 219 pages
Point: Your family can and should be involved in missions. God does not ask you to sacrifice your family on the altar of missions, but have you sacrificed God’s commands on the altar of your family?
Path: Through stories, examples, tips and testimony the author pieces together a feasible strategy for family missions.
Sources: Compiling resources from missionary biographies, missions agency, and current missions project, the author gives many resources to the reader.
Agreement: It is not “missions or family” it should be “mission through family.” Too often we think that our lives are too busy caring for our children to think of missions. Rather, we should look how we can involve our whole family in missions.
Disagreement: The author is a proponent of YWAM and other organizations which confuse missions. Also, the strategies are often focused more on humanitarian aid than Gospel presentation.
Personal App: How can I involve my family in missions rather than exchanging my family for missions?
Stars: 2.5 out of 5
There are some helpful ideas, but I wouldn’t buy the book.
What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage
Paul David Tripp
Hardcover: 287 pages
Date of reading: 9/28/2011
Point: This book is “a detailed description of the daily work of love that must be done with commitment and joy when a flawed person is married to a flawed person and they are living together in a fallen world.” (Page 282)
Path: Throughout his book, Tripp presents six different commitments that spouses must make in order to have a God-honoring marriage. He brings in these aspects: confession and forgiveness, changing our daily agendas, building bonds of trust, building relationship of love, dealing with differences with appreciation and grace, and working to protect our marriage.
Agreement: I thought that this book was a very solidly founded on biblical principles for marriage. Marriage books frequently focus solely on romance, but Tripp brings out the fact that everything in life (including marriage) is based on worship. Who am I worshipping, myself or God? He is by no means against romance, but he says that romance is the fruit and not the root of a good marriage.
Disagreement: I did not find principles in this book that I would classify as unbiblical, but I do think that it would have been helpful to have more verses accompanying the principles that were listed. I also thought that the book was at times a bit wordy in that many of the same stories/illustrations seemed to appear in various chapters.
Personal App: What a convicting book! I have been deeply challenged to love my husband in a way that is self-sacrificing and also not to get lazy in my marriage. I have realized just how much I have been living in my “kingdom of self” and not living in a way that is truly pleasing to God and furthering His work.
Stars: 4 out of 5
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.
Crystal and I have been married for one year, and my how the time went buy! I can’t even guess how many miles we have driven, walked, ridden in a bus, flown, pedaled, or fallen. We are so thankful that God has kept us safe. For the weekend of our anniversary we were able to go to Huaraz, a town in the middle of the Andes at the base of one of Peru’s tallest mountains. We took an overnight bus on Thursday night, and arrived in Huaraz about 5:30 Friday morning. We spent the weekend talking, walking, exploring, and dreaming. Some say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, others say it is the most enjoyable, I don’t know if I believe either one. I think our first year of marriage was my best yet, but I know that this coming year will be better! We were able to spend a lot of time talking about what we have learned, how we want to grow, where God is working in our lives, and what we are thankful for. We also sat down and wrote out hedges we are going to put up to guard our marriage. We have seen too many people fall to just sit back and hope everything works out for us. We live in an age where Hollywood stars can play any role but can’t keep a relationship afloat, athletic heroes can wow a stadium but can’t stick with their spouse, political figures can sweet talk the people but can’t stay faithful, and even our spiritual leaders can preach a great message but can’t back it up with their life. We have seen how Satan has attacked the family, and are making it a point to fight back. There are so many places where we are able to compromise, do what feels good, and ruin our marriage. I have been so blessed with a godly woman who wants the best for me and our marriage. I really thank God for the year we have had together, and pray that He will allow our next year to be better.