The church I called home before Mr. Awesome and I married has a little tradition.
Each Sunday the congregation is asked if there are any birthdays or anniversaries. If your birthday or anniversary happens to fall on the preceding or coming week, you are sung to by said congregation as you go up to the front of the church and place a dollar or two in a plastic church shaped bank. The pastor then asks you to offer a few words of wisdom.
For years I watched as couples took the pulpit, offering advice on what they had learned over the tenure of their marriages. Some cracked jokes. Some made your eyes mist over. Many expressed the great need for patience with one another. Some testified to God’s goodness in leading them through pain, addiction, and loss, and some quoted Churchill (“Never, never, never give up”).
For years I wondered when it would be me up there with Mr. Right.
Unfortunately, our first anniversary (June 1) came and went without our being able to put a dollar or two in the miniature plastic church. But I’ve been thinking about what I might say if given the chance, and if given the chance, I think I might say two things:
First, let God choose your spouse. Marriage is challenging enough without wondering if you picked the right one. I can’t say how grateful I am for God leading me to Mr. Awesome, and for all of the confirmations He sprinkled throughout our courting days. Waiting on God’s timing was hardly easy, but it was more than worth it.
And second, I would read this:
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Luke 6:31 (NIV)
Before I got married, I don’t think I truly realized the infinite value of Christ’s statement here. Sure, it was something that popped into my head from time to time in response to a an unkind thought I’d had, or viscous word I’d uttered. But I think I realized its importance more fully in the first months of our marriage than ever before.
You see, Luke 6:31 is a brilliant litmus test for selfishness.
If I found myself getting worked up about something, or getting testy and disgruntled, it helped to stop and ask myself, how would I feel if Mr. Awesome was doing this to me? How would I feel if he said such-and-such to me? How would I respond if he said he didn’t want to do X? What would I think if he said he was going to do Y?
More often than not, the answer was that I really wouldn’t like it very much. So why should I act that way towards him?
I don’t remember Luke 6:31 as often as I should, but I believe the more often I do, the better wife I will be.
Those would be the words of wisdom I would offer.