“I don’t remember,” Stan commented one morning, “whether or not I’ve ever mentioned to you that I get together with a bunch of guys for lunch once a month.”
“I don’t think you ever said anything about that,” I responded. “Where do you meet and how many guys are there?”
“The size of the group varies, but it’s usually around a couple dozen,” Stan said. “We meet in the back room at Dot’s Diner over on Mulberry Avenue.”
“What do you talk about?” I asked.
“That also varies,” Stan replied, “but we try to get a speaker who will help us focus on our faith walks and what it means to be living our lives as Christians.”
“Sounds good,” I replied, “Have you met recently?”
“We met yesterday,” Stan replied, “and there was a speaker that most of the guys said they really enjoyed and got a lot out of what he had to say.”
“What’d he talk about?”
“Marriage,” Stan said.
“That’s a big subject,” I responded. “Did he narrow it down at all?”
“Sure did,” Stan replied. “He limited his talk to focusing on the rejoicing that Proverbs 5:18 addresses, and what an impact that has had on his marriage.”
“Proverbs 5:18 rejoicing?” I said. “I’m not sure I know about that.”
“That’s how a lot of the guys responded,” Stan replied. “I know I probably would have had the same response, but someone pointed it out to me a long time ago.”
“So,” I said, “what is it?”
“Rejoice in the wife of your youth.”
“How’s a husband supposed to do that?” I asked.
“Choose,” was Stan’s one-word response. “Choose to rejoice. And note specifically that there’s nothing said about putting conditions on rejoicing.”
“It doesn’t say to rejoice if the wife does such and such, or doesn’t do such and such,” Stan replied. “It says rejoice in her.”
“But what if she’s not the wife of a person’s youth? What if they got married later in life?”
“You think that’s a legitimate exception?” Stan asked. “My view is that this verse in Proverbs should be read that a husband is to rejoice in his wife, whether or not he married her as a young person. A husband is to rejoice in his wife, whether of his youth or otherwise.”
“You think that kind of rejoicing will make a difference in a marriage?” I asked.
“It has to be tried to be seen,” Stan replied. “I did, I do, and, yes, there is a difference!”
“You know,” I replied, “it sounds kind of like you could have given that talk to the group yesterday.”
“Not yet,” Stan replied with a smile. “I’m not quite ready for prime time, but I’m working on it!”
Bible verses to consider:
Rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18.
Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun, for this is your reward in life, and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:9.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25.
Prayer (for those who are married): Thank you, Father, for bringing my wife into my life. She is truly a gift of your provision. I confess that too often I do not rejoice in her the way you intend. Please forgive me of that foolish approach to marriage. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead to truly rejoice in my wife and to love her just as Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in His name. Amen.
Prayer (for the unmarried who are contemplating marriage): Thank you, Father, that you will provide a wife for me in exact accordance with your will. I ask you to help me in truly rejoicing in her just as you intend throughout our marriage. Please help me follow every step of your lead so I truly rejoice in her and love her just as Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in His name. Amen.
Think on this: What does it mean to you to “rejoice” in another person, especially if that person is your spouse? Have you ever experienced feeling where you found it too difficult to rejoice in another person? If so, what was that all about? What does it mean to you for a man to love his wife “just as” Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church? Do you think that sort of “just as” love is possible? Why or why not?