Emmett Murphy

Emmett Murphy

“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mark 10:9

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” — Mignon McLoughlin

May I boast about my granddaughter’s husband for just a moment? Joe and Kaitlin have been married just over one year. Recently he said to Kaitlin, “Kaitlin, I look at your mom and your grandmother, and they are beautiful at their ages. So I know that you are still going to be beautiful when you get older also.”

Men, have you said anything as nice as that to your wife lately? I would like to take credit for teaching Joe that in the premarital counseling that we did before their wedding, but I can’t. But what I did stress is the permanence of the commitment he was making when he said, “I do.” I pray that he never stops growing in his love for Kaitlin.

We have just experienced a time of thanksgiving as a nation. Now we are entering a time that can be very stressful on relationships. It’s called Christmas. Gift giving. Buying to satisfy emotional needs. Making sure everyone gets everything that they want. Children may hear parents saying things that should not be said because of money issues, issues often not due to the lack of sufficient funds but to the misuse of funds.

I want to stress the need for wholesome family relationships during these next several weeks so that we can enjoy our time to celebrate the birth of Christ rather than collapse Dec. 26 and say, “I’m so glad that’s over!”

In early biblical history the family was the core unit for society. It is no accident that in the Bible the most satisfying picture of God’s kingdom on earth is the picture of family relationships. We call God “Father” and think in terms of being His sons and daughters. Jesus is not only our Savior, Intercessor, and Mediator, but also our brother. We are not simply destitute, outcast beggars gleaning a few crumbs from the surplus of heaven’s supply. Rather we are “joint-heirs with Jesus,” and of “the household of God.” In other words, we are members of God’s family!

I get the idea many people today believe that “successful” family living is impossible to achieve and that we are destined to fail simply because the divorce rate is so high. But I believe God would not ask us to do something that we are not capable of doing. I’m not saying it will be easy or that there will not be problems to face and serious challenges at times. But it is achievable. Families that succeed openly communicate love. Love in the Bible is not just something you feel; it’s something you do. It’s responsible behavior. When love is openly communicated between the husband and wife, it will translate to the children in their marriage later on. Many things can be forgiven if children know their parents are committed to loving each other no matter what.

So my question is — no matter how long you have been married — how is your relationship? Is it the envy of others? Or is it just two people under the same roof? Is love obvious in your home? Is your home what you want your children to model when they grow up and marry?

Joe has the right attitude. He is not just talking love; he is also walking love. He loves his wife and looks forward to spending many, many years with her. He wants not only to grow old with her but also to see how beautiful she will be when she is old. Isn’t it amazing that young people can still teach us old people something!

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).

Emmett Murphy is a Christian church minister.