February 18, 2019
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Matthew 19:5 (NIV)
Although I loved my college experience, I managed to graduate without the degree I prayed fervently to receive: the unofficial "M-R-S" degree. I entered college as a single woman and exited the same way.
Four years later, I went to graduate school. A certain young man flipped my hamburger at student orientation. A few weeks later, "hamburger guy" was serving in the same nursing home ministry as I was. You might say he had me at "Jello." His name was James, and as he shared a Bible study with the residents, I thought, Lord, I want to marry that man!
We became good friends, but I interpreted every friendly gesture as a prelude to romantic love. He'd take me out to ice cream with a "buy one, get one free" coupon. He'd invite me to the movies with his friends. After a year and a half of friendship and nothing more, I finally got the message.
Lord, I prayed, if James is not the man for me, I will surrender my hopes about him to You.
About the same time, James was opening his eyes to the possibility of love. He was planning to take me out for fast-food to proclaim this change of heart, but a friend wisely told him to take me to a restaurant. After dessert, he pulled out a red rose and a yellow rose from underneath a jacket. "We've been friends," he said, "and now I want to find out if we should be more. I would like to date you."
Five months later, we were engaged. I earned my desired M-R-S degree!
In our key verse about marriage from Matthew 19:5, Jesus is quoting Genesis 2:24, which reads, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." Here's the life-changing, foundational principle for the family, given in Genesis and reiterated by Jesus. A man breaks ties from his parents and is permanently joined to his wife. Literally, it means they are glued together. They become one flesh - the basis for unity in marriage. It doesn't mean every happily married couple will agree about everything, but they agree on being one.
Forsaking all others, I married James 20 years ago. I believe it's good to remember the early days of dating to keep your marriage sweet and unified. It's easy to allow frustrations, disappointments and disagreements to erode the unity between a husband and wife. But when I take time to remember how blessed I felt when the relationship began and my husband proposed, it gives me a grateful heart for the man I have.
So what's your love story? Do you believe you don't have one? Maybe you're single, widowed, or your marriage didn't work out. Remember today that God Almighty is madly in love with you.
Isaiah 54 verses 4a and 5 says, "Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated ... For your Maker is your husband - the LORD ... Almighty is his name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth" (NIV). Wow, now that's an epic love story! The God of all the universe says, "... my unfailing love for you will not be shaken" (verse 10b).
Each and every one of us has a love story worth remembering and celebrating.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me and having compassion on me. Help me remember with gratitude the love story You're writing in my life. Strengthen marriages today, and turn husbands and wives toward each other in unity. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 77:11-12, "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds." (NIV)
Ephesians 4:2-3, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (NIV)
Are you in the midst of celebrating in your walk with Jesus? Or, are you struggling through trials and tribulations? See how God's steadfast love and faithfulness are present through all of life's circumstances. Click here to learn more. Join us in the First 5 app on March 4 as we begin our study on Ezra and Nehemiah, Opposition and Opportunity.
Have you checked out the Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast yet? Every episode will feature a biblically based message from one of our staff members or friends of the ministry. Click here to listen to the most recent teaching and subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Visit Arlene Pellicane's website for a few ideas to keep romance alive in your marriage (plus you'll find some old pictures of Arlene and James from that first official date with the roses).
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If you're married, take a moment to look through some old photos from years past or to read an old love letter. Reminisce with your husband about a happy memory over dinner sometime in the near future, if not tonight.
Take a moment to pray for yourself and another special woman in your life, maybe your mom, a sister or a good friend. Pray you will each know more deeply how much God loves you and longs to keep writing your love story. Ask God to heal any areas that may need mending in your relationships with men.
We'd love to join you in prayer. Please share how we can pray for you.
© 2019 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.