For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. Ephesians 5:25 NLT
Although made for washing dishes, this cloth led to a sixty-three-year marriage.
Marion came from a troubled background. His mom and dad divorced when he was young, leaving his mom to raise him and his sister. She tried her best, but the day came when she couldn’t afford them any longer and sent them to live with her mom.
The grandmother did the best she could, but another tough day arrived when she had to decide which one to keep. She kept Marion’s sister and enrolled Marion in a boy’s home. As soon as he was old enough, she enlisted him in the military.
On this day, Marion was home on leave, visiting his mom. Dejected and lonely, he sat on the couch, not saying much to anyone. Idelia, a family friend, was visiting. Noticing Marion’s dejected look—and knowing Idelia needed a man—Grandma intervened. Taking the dishcloth, she wrung it out and handed it to Idelia. “Take this washcloth and wash Marion’s face with it,” she said. Though an odd request, Idelia obeyed. Marion obviously enjoyed the gesture, and they eventually married.
When my wife shared that story about her parents, I chuckled. Having known them for more than a decade, the story fit. As I’ve watched their relationship over the years, I’ve noticed her dad’s obedience to Paul’s instructions—and her mom has followed suit too. They love and submit to each other—two necessary components for lifelong love.
Successful marriages take mutual love and effort. Love isn’t lust, and marriages based only on lust are destined for failure. Outward looks change—which dampens what lust feeds on—but inner beauty lasts. Marriages based on this endure through the easy as well as the tough times. These marriages aren’t entered into with divorce as an option if things get tough.
Perseverance characterizes lifelong love. Marion and Idelia’s marriage endured tough days. His military career took them to countless places and into two wars. Idelia spent numerous days and nights alone, wondering whether the one whose face she had washed would make it home—but she hung in there. They gave and served each other, and God blessed them with a lasting marriage.
Marriages take energy, perseverance, and love, but God blesses those who enter them for a lifetime. Make your marriage one that lasts.
Tweetable: Are you building a lifelong love?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the partners You give us to spend our lives with.