Forever and ever, amen

2023 Franklin Living January-February

Eons ago – February 1988, to be more precise – Marla, who is now my wife of 34 years, and I became engaged and began planning a wedding.

Like many couples, we had “our song,” but other songs were also significant during our engagement. The iconic Randy Travis hit, “Forever and Ever, Amen” was one. An anthem for almost anyone planning to get married, it clearly stated the longevity goal for a marriage – forever and ever!

Then there was the lesser-known “Time In,” by the Oak Ridge Boys, about a couple who had raised a family and were now beginning to experience the joy of being empty-nesters; the couple now had “time in.” I remember listening to that song and imagining what married life would be like all those years down the road. Today, as we are now living that reality, I count it as an amazing blessing from God.

Far too many couples miss the blessing of that kind of marriage, and perhaps that is because they have never had a clear understanding of God’s role in the relationship. Scripture reveals marriage was first conceived in the mind of God. Since he invented it, the institution of marriage belongs to him – so it should come as no surprise that he has explained how it is supposed to work. God has explained how to have a healthy and long-lasting marriage.

What if more husbands were to commit to loving our wives “just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25)? What if more wives were to “be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22)? When both husband and wife are following God’s plan for marriage, the likelihood of a marriage that lasts is exponentially higher.

If you are planning to be married, the following advice is sure to be a blessing: First, make sure your spouse-to-be is committed to helping you spend eternity in heaven. Second, as a couple, be devoted to knowing what God intends for you. Both of you should be committed to spending time in God’s Word. Third, agree before you get married that you will be together in God’s house for worship every week. Finally, invest in quality pre-marital counseling from a Christian counselor. It will bless your relationship every day of your life.

God wants you to have a “Forever and Ever, Amen” kind of marriage. He wants you to one day have “Time In.” The key is following his plan for your marriage.

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Philip Goad has been serving as the minister at North Highlands Church of Christ in Russellville since March 2020.

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