Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: honeymoon

No longer alone

It was a small wedding, just a few of our family and friends. I remember that we barely made it to the church on time and I remember when we signed our marriage certificate. My meory doesn’t seem to have recorded anything else, but that’s the important stuff anyway – we were there and we got married. Later that afternoon we left to spend our honeymoon at Lake Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park. In the middle of our first night together Chris woke up, startled and a little disoriented, saying, “I just dreamed that we were married!.”

We’ve been living that dream for almost 48 years now. Like most dreams, it has had twists and turns when we wondered how it would turn out. Now we’re old folks and still together.

They tell you that two become one when you marry. They don’t tell you (or maybe I just wasn’t listening when it was told) how hard it will be to change the old habits of singlehood. As a bachelor, I had washed dishes when I had nothing left to cook with or eat from. Socks and shirts stayed where they dropped when I took them off. Every couple weeks I would go round the house, gather my dirty clothes and take them to the laundromat. I kind of knew my bride wouldn’t be charmed by those old habits,  but they died hard.

I wanted a Christian home, but had little idea what that might involve. The first night after we settled into our home in Sperling, Chris told me she wanted us to read the Bible and pray together. That is, she wanted me to take the lead in doing it. I resisted, she insisted. Once begun it became a practice that has continued to this day.

Chris had finished Grade 11 when living at Kelliher with her uncle. Now she enrolled in Grade 12 in Carman, the second town west of Sperling and caught the school bus early each morning.  That didn’t last long. Being a newcomer and the only married person in the class left her out of the social whirl of school. She decided that she had more important things to do at home.

Before we were married, I tried teaching her to drive my pickup truck. It had a standard transmission with the shift lever on the steering column. We drove out of Belle Plaine onto Highway Number One, the Trans-Canada, and I sat close beside her to coach. This was easier back in the days before seat belts and bucket seats. An RCMP officer stopped us and asked what was happening. Chris showed her learner’s permit and I my driver’s license and explained that I was trying to coach a driver who was unfamiliar with manual transmissions. He was a nice guy, he didn’t snicker or give us a ticket, just suggested that Chris might manage better if I didn’t sit so close.

Now that we were settled down, she enrolled in Driver’s Ed in Carman. I had traded the pickup for a car with automatic transmission and soon she was able to do the grocery shopping while I was at work.

Chris had never heard of Mennonites before she met me, but decided that if I wanted to be a Mennonite she did too. There were Mennonite churches of various kinds within a 15 or 20 minute drive from Sperling. I didn’t know much about any of them and stalled at trying to find out. One day I came home from work and my young bride informed me that she had talked to a minister at Lowe Farm, a town straight south of us, and we had an invitation to go and visit him and his wife.

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Reading each other’s mail

How long does the honeymoon last when Christians marry? How long does it take for the husband to realize that his bride isn’t submitting to him like the Bible teaches? How many days does it take before the young lady becomes aware that her husband isn’t giving himself for her like it says in the Bible?

We start out by seeing so many good qualities in each other and believing that a lifetime together is going to be effortless bliss. It doesn’t take long to see that my partner isn’t quite perfect and then natural response then is to try to help her / him become the ideal partner that I had originally envisioned. And then we wonder why our attempts to help meet with so much resistance.

The same annoyances crop up in the marriages, or relationships, of those who are not Christians. The shine soon begins to wear off the partner who seemed just about perfect just a short while ago. But we, as Christians, have the advantage of being able to point out the exact passages of Scripture that name the flaws in our beloved.

Do you see the problem here? We are reading each other’s mail. The passages about the wife’s responsibilities are addressed to the wife. Husbands should just ignore those verses and go on to the ones addressed to them. Likewise the wives should forget about reading the passages addressed to their husbands and assessing how well their own husbands measure up.

By and by, if we are truly Christians, it will begin to dawn on us that I can accomplish more for our mutual happiness by considering the passages of Scripture that address my role in the home and endeavouring to actually do what those verses say I should do. That is after all why they were written.

One of the great benefits of marriage is that it reveals how selfish I am. I begin married life with dreams of how my happiness will be enhanced by joining hands with this other person. Eventually I must realize that my happiness is bound up in helping this other person to be happy.

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