How to Prepare for a Long and Happy Marriage

Jerry C. Brewer

Marriage is the solemn union of a man and woman for life—a life that will always be filled with highest joys, deepest sorrow, and toilsome burdens. Job said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1) but if a man and woman love each other as Christ loved us (Eph. 5:22-25) and if they love God above all (Deut. 6:4-5) the trials of life can be endured together. True marital happiness can be achieved only by following in the selfless footsteps of Jesus who gave Himself for us (Rom. 5:6-8). Husbands must love their wives more than self and above all others, except God, and wives must love their husbands in like manner.

Like the Christian life, marriage is a lifelong journey which wives and husbands must travel together. It is not a “happily-ever-after” affair in the fashion of fairy tales, but an arduous trek in which a husband and wife must ever guard against sins that not only separate them from God, but from each other. The way will sometimes be dark and treacherous, but the light of God’s word will never fail those who trust it (Psa. 119:105). Though their path may descend into darkest valleys or climb the sun-washed peaks of life’s highest hills, the journey of those who love God and each other will lead at last to the land that is fairer than day, across which no shadows shall ever fall and where God is the Light Eternal.

When brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr., whom I knew and loved, performed his grand daughter’s wedding ceremony in 1975, he described true marriage. His words ought to resonate through the minds of all who contemplate this sacred state and ever be remembered on their journey.

And now that you have both chosen to fly from the shelter of your paternal roof, to embark on your own, let me impress upon you something you must always remember—that true marriage is not a mere outward physical attraction, it is a union of minds, and affinity of hearts. In the toils of time, beauty will one day fade from the cheek, and the gleam of luster from the eye, but if your hearts have been wedded, and your minds are united, every wrinkle will become a beauty spot and every furrow an ornament. And you will travel the path of life together into the glow of its golden day. (Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Soldier of The Cross, eds. Noble Patterson and Terry J. Garner , Ft. Worth, Wallace Memorial Fund, 1999, p. 243).

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