My wife and I carefully opened the ornate card, given to us by my wife’s godparents. They were unable to attend our wedding but they composed a tender message to encourage us. The end of the message was sage and simple advice, ”Laugh a lot and be kind to each other!” My wife and I smiled at each other, confident we would be able to fulfill these simple blessings. As the years passed, the daily grind of work and raising children, slowly eroded the joyful bliss of the honeymoon and marriage. Between deciding who would attend our son’s basketball game and who would drive our daughter to her tutoring class, the laughter was not as frequent, and kindness was sometimes taken for granted.
Every marriage begins with hopes and lofty dreams of happiness. Yet, marriage is a union of two completely different personalities; conflict is inevitable and must be anticipated. Pre-martial counseling may prepare a couple for some obvious pot-holes and roadblocks, books and seminars may outline strategies for couples, but the undeniable reality is every marriage is unique and there will be unexpected and tortuous pathways to maneuver together. Perhaps this is why God included the sad tale of the prophet Hosea as a reminder to all married couples that we must continually revisit and remember the reasons we first married.
Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”
Hosea 3:1 (NLT)
The Prophet Hosea was commanded by God to reconcile with his wife, Gomer, who had previously committed adultery several times in their marriage. Gomer had left the marriage once again and God commanded Hosea to seek reconciliation with her instead of pronouncing scorn and judgment. God was using this broken relationship to encourage the faith of his Prophet and to dramatically demonstrate the unrelenting and redeeming love that God has for His people and the nation of Israel.
Could I have the faith that Hosea possessed? By my own efforts, it is impossible, but when God calls a man and woman to be joined together in marriage, His Holy Spirit is present, continually working through the relationship, preserving it and encouraging it. No matter the transgressions, no matter the sins, no matter the potholes that a marriage encounters, God is there. We may push God away, even ignore and disobey Him, but, as He demonstrated to Hosea, His love knows no limits. When God brings a husband and wife together, He will always remind them of the reasons that He first brought them together and bless them with laughter and kindness.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)
”Laugh a lot and be kind to each other!”
Laughter and kindness will always be present in a marriage when the love of God is the foundation, uniting a husband and wife.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.