Ethics & Religion
June 30, 2016
How To Build a Great Marriage
By Mike McManus
my wife and I took our granddaughter to the beach. While sitting on the
sand, I began chatting with a woman in her 40s. She asked, "How many
years have you been married?" I replied, "50 years," and they have been
wonderful, blessed years.
"If you had to give one bit of advice about how to build a good
marriage, what is it?"
My answer was that my wife, Harriet, and I spend time each morning
reading some Scripture, a brief commentary on it, and then we pray for
one another and any needs we or our family have. "This is how we put
Christ at the center of our marriage."
"When we were younger (and had children), we would get up at 6:30 to
read Scripture. Today, it is later. I particularly recommend using
'`Encounter With God,' a quarterly publication of Scripture Union, which
has 4.5 million readers around the world. Over five years, it leads us
to read virtually the entire Bible.
I read the opening two sentence prayer, followed by the assigned
Scripture and one page of commentary. The July 1 Scripture is Chapter 20
of Proverbs. Here are three of its nuggets from verses 1, 7 and 13:
"Wine is a mocker, and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is
"Who can say, `I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?...
"Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have
food to spare."
The "Encounter with God" commentary notes that if you let wine and beer
"master you they will make a fool of you." This is important to God. He
made you to bear his image; he is remaking you in Christ to bear that
image again. It has cost him a lot. You matter, and the quality of your
humanity matters to him. If he is your master, he will ennoble you; let
alcohol master you and it will ruin you.
"The same goes for the self-indulgence of laziness (v. 13); you don't
set out to be a sluggard. It creeps up on you. But you'll be ruined by
it. God cares about this, so work hard and be industrious, while
enjoying rest in its proper place."
Each reading poses practical questions to consider: "Are any of the
issues raised in today's reading a struggle for you? If so, bring them
to the Cross for forgiveness."
Finally, it closes with a relevant Prayer: "Lord, help me to be wise and
obedient to Your instruction. There are so many clamoring voices
demanding my attention."
Our church pays to send a quarterly copy of "Encounter with God" to
every member, which begins with an opening page of comment from our
senior pastor, followed by a fresh page written by Scripture Union.
It opens with sage wisdom: "Ours is a noisy and distracted world. Each
day, from the moment we awaken, many voices shout for our attention -
television, radio, video, advertising, the internet, family and friends
and leaders. With such a cacophony of sounds, it is hard to decide to
whom we should pay attention. This makes it essential that we hear the
voice which ultimately counts, the voice of the living God. God
communicates with us in a variety of ways, but the primary means by
which he speaks to us is through the Bible."
You can subscribe to this daily commentary for free at
www.ScriptureUnion.org. Or you can subscribe to the quarterly
publication for $25 a year. That is what I recommend, because you will
develop a habit of turning to it each morning or evening. Emails are
easy to skip.
However, the best strategy is for your church to invest in nurturing all
of its members in Scripture reading and commentary. Of course, discounts
are available for a multiple purchase.
What I recommend is that you write for a free copy of "Encounter with
God," that you can consider subscribing to - or that you might give to
your senior pastor, with the suggestion that the church order it for all
its members. For a free copy write its editor: [email protected]
We do live in a noisy, distracted world. If you take 5-10 minutes a day
to read Scripture, a brief commentary, several probing questions about
it, and close with prayer - your life will have a renewed, uplifting
And if you are married, you will have a new way to put Christ at the
center of your marriage.
Copyright (c) 2016 Michel J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a
syndicated columnist. For previous columns go to
www.ethicsandreligion.org. Hit Search for any topic.
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