Thursday, March 04, 2010

Making marriage work

John Annas and his wife Lenore recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary. What's special about that, you might ask? Lots of people have celebrated their second wedding anniversary.

What's special about that is that John is 105 and his wife is 86.

The couple live in an old people's home in Leesburg, Florida. John is a retired Methodist minister (A faithful soul. He spends his mornings in prayer. One of the advantages of growing old and less physically active is that you have more time to spend in prayer).

John was married to his first wife for 47 years before his first wife died. Lenore was a widow. She was married for 57 years to her first husband.

When the couple first talked about marriage, family and friends were opposed. They thought John was too old. They went ahead anyway. Now family and friends are delighted.

"He's closer to God than anybody else that I have ever known," Lenore says of John.

"I love her wonderful and gracious spirit, her interest in people, and her love of God," says John of Lenore. "I've discovered somebody who makes my half a whole. I'm 105 and I've never been happier than I am now.

"I have a wonderful companionship with Lenore, a woman who makes me smile. She makes my heart sing. She's my Valentine. She's beyond and above anything I can put into words. Next to God, she's it."

The secret of their happy marriage? They didn't say; at least not in the account I read. But I think John hinted at it when he said "Next to God, she's it."

If you are talking about getting married, tell your young lady - or your 86-year-old lady, if you like - that if you marry, she will never have first place in your life. That belongs to Jesus. But tell her she will have second place, and no one will ever have that place but her.

And if you're a young lady - or an 86-year-old lady, for that matter - thinking of getting married, tell your husband-to-be the same thing.

A young lady I remember whose marriage failed complained that there were three people in her marriage, for all the wrong reasons. Make sure there are three people in your marriage for all the right reasons - you two and Jesus.

Putting Jesus first won't make you a worse husband or a worse wife. It will make you a better husband or a better wife than you could ever be without Him.

I can give personal testimony to the truth of that.