By Timothy Johnson
I usually find the astonished look on people’s faces when they find out Julie and I have been married forty-four years humorous. Their amazement grows when they discover we were married as teenagers; she was nineteen, and I was eighteen.
It does concern me somewhat when a married person asks me, “How did you guys stay married so long?” The question implies they do not think they will make it forty-plus years.
The short answer to how we stayed married so long is that God has kept us together. But something was going on long before we were married. In our case, it started even before we were dating.
We met in church. We were both part of the youth group. We knew each other, but other than knowing each other’s names and being cordial to one another, we did not have a relationship of any kind. That is, until an eight-hour bus ride.
Several churches sponsored a trip for high-school juniors and seniors to visit a Christian college. We ended up sitting with each other on the bus. This seating arrangement resulted in an eight-hour conversation. What started as small talk ended up a philosophical discussion about passages of Scripture.
We spent much of the next two days together, attending classes, eating meals, and some free time, then the bus ride home. When the bus rolled into our church parking lot, and it was time for us to depart ways and head home, I did not want the conversation to end.
Later that day, I sat down to read my Bible. Thinking of the talks Julie and I had over the last several days, how we talked about the things of Scripture, I wished she was there to discuss what I would read. I pulled out a notebook and a pen, opened my Bible, and started to read, writing down my thoughts as I went. On the top of the page, I wrote, “Dear Julie.”
On the next church day, I gave her my note. Then we handed Bible study notes to each other at the next church service. So it began – we started writing and talking about all of life’s situations.
Our forty-four years of marriage have not been argument free, but the disagreements are few and far between. This harmony is because we came to a like mind through these letters and conversations of our thoughts on the Bible. The Bible speaks of every life situation imaginable. All those things couples bicker about or have problems with – money, in-laws, raising children, even sex, and much, much more. We did not need to argue much because we made the decisions before marriage. Several times in our marriage, an argument ended with the statement, “That is not what we decided before we got married.”
I would encourage couples to use the Bible as their guideline, but whether you use the Scripture or not, come to an agreement about everything you can think of before walking down the aisle.
A question is asked in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The answer is “no.”
Now that the marriage counseling session is over, I must ask, “How is your walk with God?”
Before thinking of a gooey or warm feeling and equating that to a good relationship with Jesus, think of Amos 3:3, and ask yourself, “Do me and God agree on things?” If you disagree with each other, your walk with Him will be short at best.
Marriages dissolve because of disagreements. A spouse that cheats disagrees with the “till death do we part” section of the vows. Just as a marriage falls apart because of different opinions on finances, the discipline of children, employment choices, and so on, our relationship with God crumbles because of disagreements about our thoughts and behavior.
God’s Word will say one thing, and we think, “That does not apply to me (or people in general) anymore.” That is a disagreement.
God says any sex outside marriage is a sin, yet sex outside marriage is the norm in our society. These actions are a disagreement between God and us.
God tells us not to forsake church (Hebrews 10:25), yet many Christians attend church when convenient instead of religiously. This careless attitude toward church is a disagreement.
God tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but many only pray when they have exhausted all other options. This apathetic attitude toward prayer is a disagreement.
God tells us to study the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). Yet, many Christians rarely, if ever, open a Bible. This lack of desire for the Scriptures is a disagreement with God.
How is your walk with God?
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website: www.preachers-point.com; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Timothy-Preacher-Johnson-101171088326638. All Scripture KJV.