Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rejoicing is Remembering

Some wise words from Ray Ortlund on 40 years of marriage. Ray reflects on Proverbs 5:18 -- "rejoice in the wife of your youth" -- helping us to see that a prime way to rejoice in the wife of our youth is to remember, to bring those youthful days into our present appraisal of our spouse.

Along those same lines, here is some encouragement to rejoice-by-remembering for wives from Shirley Rice:
"Are you in love with your husband? Not, Do you love him? I know you do. He has been around a long time, and you’re used to him. He is the father of your children. But are you in love with him? How long has it been since your heart really squeezed when you looked at him? ... Why is it you have forgotten the things that attracted you to him at first? ... By the grace of God, I want you to start changing your thought pattern. Tomorrow morning, get your eyes off the toaster or the baby bottles long enough to LOOK at him. Don’t you see the way his coat fits his shoulders? Look at his hands. Do you remember when just to look at his strong hands made your heart lift? Well LOOK at him and remember."

(Quoted by Ed Wheat in Love Life for Every Married Couple (Zondervan, 1980), cited in Carolyn Mahaney, "Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Wife Needs to Know," Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2005), 209.)
The command to rejoice in the Lord can seem unreasonable given present circumstances, but it is never optional and it is always possible through the power of the Spirit when we look not down or around but up to the risen Christ who has died for us and made us alive. Likewise, we can always find reasons to be disappointed with our spouse -- because they are sinners (like us) -- but one way we can bring rejoicing up to date is by retrieving it from the joys of youth.

Steps to Grace-Driven Marriage
Steps to Grace-Driven Sex
A Specified Grace in Solomon's Song

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