Voices of Faith: Love and marriage

Cupid’s arrows are flying through the mail again and I’m somewhat of an authority on the subject of the season. I’ve been in love with the same woman since we were teenagers and we’re heading toward our sixty-fourth wedding anniversary. Add to that the many weddings at which I’ve officiated and you’ll see there’s a case for my claim.

One of the tenderest times in the sequence of events leading to marriage is the first appointment with the minister. Two young lovers enter the pastor’s study, hand in hand, with stars in their eyes, to talk about getting married. For this important occasion, I settled on a plan that I thought would help them throughout their life together.

First, I asked the prospective groom why he wanted to marry this woman. His answer was always essentially the same: because he loved her.

“Why do you love her?” I then asked.

An awkward period of silence often followed that question, during which I felt sorry for the bride-to-be whose future husband couldn’t think of anything to say.

One answered, “Well, it’s not because of her looks!”

I’ve often wondered why we didn’t lose that one.

Finally, after time to think about his answer, this man who was soon to pledge his love for life would come up with some reasons for doing so. Then I asked the same question of the intended bride, who often quickly volunteered several reasons for her love. Following this, I asked both of them to enlarge on their love lists and bring them to our next appointment.

At our second meeting, I carefully went over both lists and returned them, saying, “You are each marrying an imperfect person. You both have faults that will begin to show up after you’re married and that will be the time to review your lists again.

What was I trying to do?

I was making an effort to teach these who were soon to be married how to build a lasting relationship by focusing on their strong points, the positive characteristics that had brought them together.

Ruining a marriage is easy. All you have to do is accentuate the negative.

Those who build on faults shouldn’t be surprised when earthquakes come.

An unhappy woman thought there was no way to save her marriage. Sitting across the desk from me, she told the reasons for her pessimism and unfolded a bitter story about her husband’s faults. He was neglectful, unloving and unspiritual.

“Is there anything good about him?” I asked.

She hadn’t thought about that in a long time. After a few moments of silence, she started naming a few redeeming qualities in this scoundrel and before she left my office her attitude had changed. He wasn’t so bad after all.

Looking for the best in others is not a denial of their shortcomings. On the contrary, it simply recognizes their faults and then acts in love.

This is exactly how the Lord responds to our failures. In spite of our blunders and mistakes along the way, He loves us, meets us where we are and offers us forgiveness. That’s why grace is so amazing: it’s extended to the undeserving.

There are no perfect people and therefore no perfect marriages.

But there is hope: those who respond in faith to God’s love will discover the secret that makes love and marriage last.

Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. Contact us at rcministry@ameritech.net

More in Life

Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Penisula Clarion)
Chewy soft pretzels are easy to make at home. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Sisterhood and soft pretzels

Our favorite snack there, the one I know will always make her smile, was a soft pretzel with cheese sauce.

The welcome sign for the City of Kenai, as seen in this city Facebook page photo.
History with a sense of humor, Part 1

The first part of a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Ward off Halloween’s mystical monsters with these garlic-infused cheesy shells and pepper sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty Halloween

Keep spooky creatures at bay with garlic-infused shells and pepper sauce.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.