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Weddings are on my mind just now. My nephew is getting married in a few days, and our daughter, who is an organizational whiz kid, is coordinating the wedding. Our youngest son and his fiancée are planning their wedding a few months down the road, and our oldest son is contemplating marriage with the love of his life. Maybe you can see why weddings are on my mind!

Back in the days when David and I married— nearly 34 years ago—we had a very simple wedding. Coming from something of a hippie background, we chose an outdoor wedding at David’s parents’ lovely home overlooking the Columbia Gorge in the state of Washington. Plenty of beautiful shrubs and flowers negated the need for a florist. David wore a muslin shirt that I had embroidered for him, and I wore a simple dress that my sister had lovingly sewn for me. Our reception was an outdoor potluck, complete with yummy dishes prepared by the guests. A friend made the cake, and another friend sang for us. It was the only wedding that I know of that has cost less than $100! I’m not advocating that for everyone, but for us at that time and place in our history, it was perfect.

More recently, I’ve been initiated into the complexity of the more traditional wedding. There are innumerable details that have to be attended to—those that have to be dealt with months ahead of time, such as the venue, the photographer, and the minister, to mention a few. And no matter how well these things are planned and prepared for, there’s always the last-minute rush of things that can’t be done ahead of time, along with things that somehow slipped through the cracks in earlier planning. That’s why more and more people today engage someone to coordinate their wedding. Not just anyone will do, for this is a complex and important job. The ideal wedding coordinator must not only be creative and energetic, she should also be organized and responsible. The special day is of such importance that it cannot be entrusted to someone carelessly.

Thinking of this important task, I realized that we often spend endless hours of care and planning, not to mention thousands of dollars, to make the wedding day “perfect”—something that will leave sweet memories that last a lifetime. But then we, too often, enter into the marriage with careless abandon, believing that things will somehow just work out naturally.

I would like to suggest a “marriage coordinator,” for we truly have more need of this than of the wedding coordinator. Anyone who is or has been married knows that there’s a daily plethora of decisions, actions, and plans that have to be dealt with—things that can have a positive or negative impact on the marriage. This doesn’t just continue for a few weeks or even several months, like planning for the wedding does. It goes on as long as the marriage lasts, which ideally will be “till death do us part.” Let me recommend a wonderful Coordinator, One whom my husband David and I engaged and found to be completely faithful and effective.

When David and I married at the ages of 24 and 23, respectively, we had both given our lives over to God’s leading, and we were blessed to have the wise counsel of some older friends. Implementing their advice and following God’s leading has made it possible for us to have a wonderful marriage. I would like to share some of the secrets of our success.

God, your marriage Coordinator

1. Begin every day with prayer, both individually and together. Commit your marriage to God, confessing that you don’t have what it takes to keep it healthy and happy without Him. Take my word, you don’t!

2. Ask your spouse to pray for you every day, and specifically ask him or her to pray for any special need that you may have. You should also do the same for your spouse. Be sincere in your prayers for one another so that they don’t just become a routine.

3. Study together. In addition to your personal time for private devotion, study the Bible or another spiritual book together. Begin these times with prayer, inviting God to be your Teacher.

4. End each day again with prayer. A wise older woman wrote some advice in a book that our church compiled for us as newlyweds. She told us to clear up every problem, large or small, before going to sleep each night. (Ephesians 4:26 says, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”) This keeps things from building up and getting bigger than they really are or need to be. When you come to a stalemate, let God be the Referee. He is always fair and infinitely interested in both of you.

When people comment on our good marriage, I have to give the credit to the help and advice of my heavenly Father. We have enough experiences apart from Him to remind us how dependent we are upon Him. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, / two can defend themselves. / A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

That third strong cord is the God of love who is abundantly able to “coordinate” and keep your marriage healthy. Try Him. You won’t be disappointed.

The Secret of a Happy Marriage

by Holly Lackey
  
From the July 2009 Signs  

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