Wanting to get to know Stan better, I said, “The first time we were together you mentioned your wife. Are you still married to her?”
Stan’s eyes sparkled as he said, “Yes, I am still married to my high school sweetheart. We have been married a long time.” With a chuckle, he added, “Sometimes my wife says we have been married for a very long time.”
“We have a very good marriage, but it is only through the grace of God.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“We were married very young. I was 20 and my bride had just turned 18. We were not Christians. We spent the first five years of our marriage in college, with our son being born right before we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We were poorer than the proverbial church mice.”
“I had no idea how to be a husband, and I had the totally wrong notion of what being married really meant.”
“In addition, I had been married for almost 20 years before I became a Christian.”
“It was even longer before I began a deeper relationship with God and was shown the truth of Proverbs 5:18.”
“What is Proverbs 5:18?” I asked.
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth,” Stan said without having to consult his Bible.
“Please tell me more.”
“My bride is certainly the wife of my youth, but the question is did I rejoice in her then, and do I rejoice in her now? I certainly did love her, but only the grace and instruction of God led me to rejoice in her.”
“To rejoice is to show great joy and delight. The verse in Proverbs does not say to rejoice in her when I feel like rejoicing, but to rejoice in her. Period. That means at all times, under every circumstance. To love and to rejoice are choices that can and are to be made.”
“All of this did not become really clear to me until I read this verse in Proverbs and really focused on what it meant — and how woefully short of it I was.”
“Am I now the ‘perfect’ husband?”, Stan said more as a statement than a question.
“Hardly,” he answered his own statement, “but as I am open to being the husband I am needed to be, and the one God can use for His purposes with my wife and in our marriage, He leads me to where He wants me to be.”
“The biggest question is whether I will follow His lead. With His grace I will!”
Stan then added, “There is another thing about that verse in Proverbs that I think is important”
“What’s that,” I asked.
“It says to rejoice in the wife of your youth, but it surely means to rejoice in your wife whether she is of your youth or otherwise. So I like to read that verse as saying, in essence, to rejoice in the wife you married when you were younger than you are today.”
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18
Prayer: Lord, you know how terribly inadequate I can be as a husband. I need and ask for your constant help in truly rejoicing in my wife. She is your very special provision. Please help me to be the man and husband she needs me to be, as well as the one you will be able to use for your purposes in our marriage and in her life. Amen.