Reflections on Marriage and Relationships

In the last six months I have found myself spending a great deal of time thinking and talking with friends about the nature of marriage. Part of this was because I was involved in two Bible studies which covers Genesis 2, and Ephesians 5, two of the great passages in the Bible about marriage. Additionally, I have been part of a study for young adults which has been looking at what the Bible says about relationships. Beyond these things though,  I have been trying to make sense of life in the face of losing my best friend and wife of 27 years to cancer.

I felt one of the best ways to honor Libby would be to live, to have a heart filled with gratitude and appreciation for life. What better place to start than to think through all the ways that Libby had been a blessing. For though I feel her lost acutely, how much worse would it have been to not had those many years together. As time has passed, I have found myself reflecting on not just our shared life, but considering the marriages of our friends, family, mentors, and reflecting on nearly 30 years walking along side college students and young couples as they prepared and then started their own marriages.

In the midst of working through my grief, sorrow, and joy, I found myself spending time with a diverse set of people. Young adults who are trying to figure out what the future might hold and who are gaining wisdom, older singles wondering if love and marriage was going to pass them by,  married couples who wanted to support and encourage me,  friends going through difficult times in their marriages, and other men who had lost their wives to cancer. With each of these groups, conversations often turned to relationships, dating and/or marriage.
Much of what follows started out as notes I made for myself, trying to understand what I was going through, to examine my perspective and try to see things through God’s eyes.  Some of this content started as email to friends who were wrestling with their relationships. In the last couple of months I found myself wondering if it might be useful to share some of what I am learning. I have been slowly trying to turn notes written for myself into something that others could read and understand. Initially I was planning to do a single blog post, but I realized that this is a topic which is too big for a single post. So in the next week or so I will be posting a blog entry every day or so.  I am sure this isn’t  complete… think of it as an alpha release. But you have to ship at some point. I figured starting on mother’s day would be appropriate.

I would like to revise this content and make it good. You can help me. I would greatly appreciate feedback. Send me mail, post comments, whatever you are comfortable doing.

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Ironically, now that I have almost finished writing up my notes, a friend introduced me to a book that captures much of what I would say, with more style and clarity than I will likely bring to the subject.  I would highly recommend the book The Meaning of Marriage by the Kellers. If you aren’t a book person, there is a video of Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage Books@Google talk which is a quick summary of the most important points. While there are numerous good books, some of which will cover one topic or another in more depth,  the Kellers’ book is the single best book I have found.

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