Before I put on my tux and my wife slipped into her dress, I thought it would be a great sentiment to purchase a Bible for us both. I knew I would be able to customize it to say, “Logan & Jessie June 27, 2014.” After it was completed, I looked at the Bible and thought, “That looks good!”
I asked a good friend that was going to be a groomsman if his son would be our ring bearer and carry our Bible down the isle. To make a long story short, he was just too scared to walk down the isle with our Bible. After all, it would have been pretty difficult to top our niece (the flower girl) dumping all of the flowers and running up and down every isle in the church before being picked up by her dad.
I bought the Bible as a sentimental piece with the assumption that it would sit on a table, a desk or even a bookshelf and we would probably read it as well – I was missing the point. This particular Bible does have added meaning for us as a couple, but the Words remain the same, Jesus’ teachings remain the same, Paul’s letters remain the same, and the lessons and guidance remains the same. Again, I was missing the point. I have many opportunities to walk into folks homes and I rarely see Bibles open on a table in the living room or in a different room, but when I do I find a reason to ask about their Bible. The responses I receive are usually interesting:
- “Oh… Yeah, that book just sits there, but we don’t really read it much.”
- “I am a Christian, but I haven’t really read much – I should start reading it again.”
- “That Bible has been open to the same page for years – We want to maintain a Godly home and this Bible is a good reminder.”
I think they are missing the point as well. If we want to be living out the Word through our own words and actions, we need to constantly be engaged in the Word and asking and praying that the Word moves us, molds us, directs us, fulfills us, etc.
It has been years since I heard the old playground children’s song:
“(Girl’s name) and (boy’s name) sitting in the tree
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage!”
I never really thought about the words, but this simple children’s song (usually said to embarrass peers) actually promotes a healthy approach to love and marriage. It is a sequence, there is a plan, there is purpose and intentionality. We know each other, we fall in love, we grow as a couple and learn about each other – always.
The couple that says, “We know everything about each other,” is not asking questions to each other and continuing to grow as a couple.
Here is my personal view and the reasons behind that view using myself as the example:
First Comes Love
My wife and I dated a little over two years before getting married. We learned about each other and learned about ourselves. During our engagement, we went through pre-marital counseling and there were several opportunities to love, grow, forgive, be forgiven, struggle with each other, understand each other, and more! When we got married, that has not stopped at all.
Then Comes Marriage
We were married on June 27, 2014 at 5:30 in the evening. Since then, all of our focus has primarily been on each other. Serving each other, learning about each other, struggling with each other, laughing with each other, playing, growing, venting, listening, forgiving, and on and on we go – together. We have found ourselves not necessarily closed off to others, but we see this as a time to learn so much about each other and intentionally focus on us and our marriage. I believe Dr. Ross Campbell would agree with me that our overall foundation is our unconditional love for ourselves and for each other. We have entered that Covenant relationship that states,
“I am going to be who I need to be regardless or despite if you are who you need to be.”
This is unconditional love and it is the foundation of our marriage. Before the children come, we need to solidify our foundation and reinforce the setting or structure of our home – our relationship – our marriage. We need to ask the questions we think we may know the answers to. We need to focus our attention on each other and pray, seek counsel, affirm each other, spend quality time with each other, truly invest in each other, begin and continue to determine what we want our legacy to be. Dennis Rainey speaks of a Godly family legacy. Dave Ramsey speaks of a Godly financial legacy. Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud speak of appropriate boundaries within life, in relationships, in marriage. Dr. John Gottman speaks of “Love Maps” and truly knowing and understanding our spouse and on and on it goes.
When I think about my family tree and my parents generation and the generation before that, I am motivated to break free from the generational curses and “generational norms.” I am motivated to strive for an overall healthy family and a legacy that will change my generation and generations to come. We are building our legacy – a life altering legacy that changes generations!
Then Comes Baby in the Baby Carriage
Dr. Ross Campbell speaks of the home as sort of a greenhouse effect that allows children to thrive in whatever environment they find themselves. *Now, please do not hear me say that it is wrong or unwise to have children soon after marriage, this is purely my thoughts and attitude towards this subject. Dave Ramsey states that it takes at least 1 year for a couple to make a major purchase (like purchasing a home) so they don’t “kill each other” when they hang the curtains (paraphrase from the Dave Ramsey Show).
I have had several people tell me, “Oh you should wait to have children. We traveled, we did the things we wanted to, we had ‘no responsibilities.'” Also, “Having children is hard, wait to have children.” I also hear, “Having children is great, but I haven’t slept in a long time!” I believe you can do a lot as a couple before children and I also believe children are hard, yet an incredible blessing all at the same time. We can have fun as a couple and so can you, however, our responsibility is each other and devoting ourselves to reinforcing our foundation (unconditional love) and securely establishing the setting (our marriage). There is no “right time” to have a child, but just as you prepare for marriage, you also have to prepare for children and that means asking the questions, addressing the issues, dedicate your time, emotion, energy to your spouse and build your legacy as a family.
The Bible we have is not a center piece on a table or mantle, but it is the center piece of our lives and it is meant to be read and displayed, not in a home, but within our hearts, in our lives, in our community, in your lives. We have an incredible responsibility to determine what kind of family we want and in response, constantly determined to pursue a Godly legacy in every aspect of our lives. That is my prayer for my family. That is my prayer for your family.
I am open for any of you to ask me your questions, tell me your thoughts. You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I look forward to hearing from you soon!