By Todd Brady
Vice President for University Ministries, Union University
Cars and pick-up trucks lined the driveway on a Saturday night. It was obvious that a bunch of men had descended on the home. We all were coming together for one purpose. There would soon be a wedding.
Inside, men gathered around the island in the kitchen. Since it was a few weeks before Christmas, we ate Christmas cake and sipped on egg nog, boiled custard and apple cider. After all the small talk we could handle, we moved into the living room where a circle of chairs lined the room. There was no front and back of the room. There was no table with a head and foot. We were all in this together, and we all wanted the best for the young man who was about to walk into marriage.
We were there to have some dessert (I am grateful that his mom made the cake!) and to gather around the soon-to-be groom so we could share some marriage insights and pray for him. He was only days away from entering holy matrimony.
While the men sitting in that living room were not perfect men, they were godly men. They were God-fearing, church-going men. They were men who loved their wives and who had come to encourage and pray for this 21-year-old man who would soon be married.
Seventeen men sat in that room. Most were from our church. There were a couple others, too. One young man had been married fewer than two years. One gentleman had been married to his wife for almost 50 years. The rest of us were somewhere between them. All in all, there was a combined total of over 260 years of marriage sitting in that room. Wisdom.
With marriage being treated so trivially these days, it was good to be with a group of men who were so intentional and serious about it.
A couple weeks ago at church, I talked with the man sitting behind us who had just celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary. He and his wife got married on November 24, 1949. They have been married for over 25,500 days! I wanted each of my five boys to shake his hand. I thought about him and his wife Saturday night.
Can you imagine the tremendous experience and wisdom he would have brought into that room? What would he have said?
According to a recent Pew Research Study, there is a 14.09 percent divorce rate in Tennessee.
Along with this sad statistic and society’s lack of value for marriage, this young man and his bride have the proverbial cards stacked against them. One man and one woman in the covenant of marriage for life is often an exception rather than the rule. Being committed to one person for the long haul involves swimming against the stream of our current culture. I am glad this couple has the Lord. They are going to need Him.
In the 16th century, the German theologian Martin Luther was right. “There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” It’s still true. It will always be true. Luther was indeed on the right side of history.
Marriage is one of life’s greatest joys. It’s also the hardest work that can be done. For any married couple, there are sunny days and there are cloudy days. Weddings are big deals, but let us remember that years from now, no one will ask anyone how the wedding went. The real question will be “How’s the marriage going?”