5 01 2022

Tomorrow I am officiating another wedding. New Year’s Day matrimonies are becoming quite popular. I just wish that Notre Dame was playing their Bowl Game the day before or the day after. Recent history tells me that it might be better to not see what is happening on the gridiron down in Florida and to give my undivided attention to what is happening in a church up in northern Jersey.  

Don’t ask me how many nuptials I have overseen and superintended during my 40 years of ministry. I don’t know the exact amount. I do know that I take this portion of my job very seriously. I can almost hear Heaven’s thunder here on Earth every time I say, “By the power vested in me,” during the ceremony. Those words don’t come off my lips without me taking some serious responsibility. If I don’t believe that he and she are prepared to fight for each other rather than just fight with one another, then I in good conscience can’t bless what is basically doomed from the starting block. Too many couples act like the wedding event and the honeymoon to follow are the most important pieces of creating the perfect romance but real love is learned in the trenches and powerfully practiced in the daily routines of living life. Vows said should be vows reread quite often to be reminded of what you promised on a day when you were surrounded by an adoring audience.     

This is the time of the holiday season when people start taking some personal inventory and reflect upon their successes and failures amidst this last year as they gaze into the days to come. Many individuals choose to make New Year’s Resolutions. I like to call my own venture in this exercise, “New Year’s Revolutions.” The reason I call them such is because it takes some committed passionate intensity to grab the ‘want to’ in the daily battle in seeing our wishes come true. There are so many obstacles that come against us each and every day, hoping that we will fail to prevail and toss in the towel long before we work up any serious sweat. Writing down goals is the easy part. Seeing them to fruition is a whole other story. Joining a gym may help with getting you in shape physically but where do you go when it comes to fine tuning your soul?

When was the last time you married couples did something to deal with the check engine light of your union and communion together? Covering that blinking beacon with duct tape is not an option. If you pretend that all is well while your tempers continue to boil over like antifreeze on caffeine, sooner or later the whole relationship will break down for good. Mr. Goodwrench won’t have a tool to repair what you obviously didn’t care enough to address when hope was still in sight. Pull to the side of the road and determine to give the balding tires of your marriage a chance to retread what up to now you have only begun to dread. Instead of the wedding bell blues, I am encouraging you to do your marriage in review so you can renew what should be revived before it is junked for good.

How many of you married your opposite? You were attracted to the very qualities that you didn’t have but God knew you needed. You found them in another and the two of you could accomplish together what neither one of you could ever do alone. But do you know what happens? Too many men and women spend the rest of their years attempting to alter the one that at the altar they pledged their undying love to. We want to mess with the master plan that if we let things be, the wonderful that was first intended could be realized.

How many of you pursued each other when you were dating? You would move heaven and earth for each other when you were attempting to win their affections. Nothing was more important than being able to connect and talk. Gifts came easily. Spending quality time was a must. The touch of her hand in yours would ignite more than a few sparks. Whatever needed to be done became a top priority. Why is it that once we get married, we act like the thrill of the hunt is over and we display our prize like a deer hunter would hang the head of his kill on the wall in the den. I know that life happens and some things do change. But dropping from number one to number 89 with an anchor is something that we can do something about. Stop taking for granted the one that you promised to give your A Game to. When the waitress at the local diner gets the compliments that your Bride once received, it is time to reevaluate your romance. When you chase after the person sharing your workspace than the one sharing your bed, you know the pilot light of enchantment has frozen a solid blue. Flirtation without honorable intentions is the open door to using rather than cherishing. If commitment isn’t the thing its nothing more than a fling. And putting a ring on it is not to shut it down but to launch a whole new world of opportunity.

When our youngest son went to college this Fall, my wife and I had an empty nest for the first time since 1986. We were married in 1982 because we loved each other. We raised 4 children and now have 8 grandchildren, but the rubber met the road when it was just the two of us under the same roof. Our friendship, which has always been the foundation of our union, was literally rekindled. The sincere chemistry of our union has been rekindled because we really do complement each other. You might say it like this, I not only love my wife, but I like her. I respect her and am challenged by her. I adore my children, but I never put them above Terri. If you are in a funk and need to adjust some things in your home, maybe making your spouse tops in your house would be a great place to start.

Even though I am a Christian Minister, I have borrowed from Judaism for several weddings that I have officiated. It all surrounds the use of the “chuppah.” The chuppah is a tapestry attached to the tops of four poles. The word means covering or protection and is intended as a roof or covering for the bride and groom at their wedding. The chuppah is not merely a charming folk custom or a ceremonial object carried over from a primitive past. It sets the boundaries right from the get-go that God is not making two families one but two people. Too many people under the chuppah are not the way that marriage was destined to be. When what should be shared between only two becomes the fodder for reality television, and an audience is involved where they are not welcome, things can only be complicated. Even your children, your best friends, your parents, and your social media contacts should not be privy to what must stay between a husband and wife. Who needs to get out of your chuppah? Why not give a great gift to your special someone this January by shutting out the noise of those in the cheap seats and listen to the words of the one you need to cherish most? If speaking is too tough, writing a love letter all over again may be just the ticket to opening what has been locked up for way too long.

Marriage was God’s idea. It is spelled out clearly for all of us in the very first book of the Bible. Stop trying to take this duet and make it a solo performance. I have no doubt that this weekend, both the groom and the bride will be all in. He will look as good as he probably ever will, and she will shine like the princess she is. I’m not worried about the beginning of this race. I pray for their love over the long haul. If they continually propel the fire with fresh fuel, and care just as much about each other as they do about their car not running out of gas, they will be ahead of the game. We are so busy worrying about what’s going on in somebody else’s yard, we neglect our own garden. One of my goals this year is to not only love my wife as we look to celebrate 40 years together, but to love her with my actions, my deeds and my efforts. How about you? And if you are married, you may now kiss the bride again and again and again!



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