As we focus on marriage in this edition of SEVEN I can’t help but remember hearing a story about a man who was waiting to pick up his friend from the airport. As he waited and watched people walking out the exit area, he couldn’t help but notice the loud commotion in front of him as a man was greeted by his wife and three children.

They all were smiling from ear to ear so very excited to see each other. This man immediately dropped his bags and motioned to one of his sons, who couldn’t have been more than six years old, to come on over and give him a big hug. It was a long hug and as they finally stopped he looked his son in the eyes and told him how he missed him so much. Then he gazed into the eyes of his older son who was about ten years old and cupped his face in his hands saying; “Zach you are becoming quite the young man. I love you so much, son”. Then they too gave each other a long hug.

During this tender hug, the man’s little daughter began to squirm in her mothers’ arms seeing the wonderful sight of her Daddy being back home. The man reached out to grab his daughter and held her tightly saying; “Hi there my beautiful princess” and he then kissed her while holding her close to his chest. After a short time, he gave his daughter to his oldest son proclaiming; “Now, I saved the best to last.” And he gave his wife a passionate kiss then stared her in the eyes while saying; “I love you.” From seeing what was happening you would have thought they were just newlyweds but it was clear that because of their age and their children’s ages that they have been married for quite a while.

In a display of genuine amazement, the man who was waiting to pick up his friend was surprised to hear himself nervously ask this stranger;

“How long have you been married?”

“Twelve years,” responded the stranger.

Then the question arose, “How long have you been away?”

The stranger turned and was still beaming his joyous smile, “Two whole days!”

“I hope my marriage is still that passionate after 12 years.” Came the immediate response upon hearing how short the length of time this man was away from his family.

The man stopped smiling and with great conviction and empathy declared, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!”

Then he smiled again, shook hands and said; “God bless!” And he walked away with his family, hand in hand with his wife and children. While the man watched his friend arrived and asked;

“What are you looking at?”

The response was priceless, “My future.”

I share this story with you to encourage you to decide to work hard in your marriage. Don’t hope for a good marriage, decide to have a good marriage by putting in some strong personal disciplines. Remember, in order to have healthy families there must first be healthy marriages. Not perfect marriages, but healthy marriages, and this means you must decide to make your marriage work.

So, as you seek to be that husband and father God called you to, remember that you cannot get there by your own strength. Whatever you do remember, “Don’t hope. Decide to have a great marriage,” and afford yourself God’s grace when you fail during the day. Remember, this isn’t about you. It’s about Christ in you.

COLIN MCCARTNEY is an ordained minister, speaker, and a bestselling author. He is also the founder of UrbanPromise Toronto and now leads Connect Ministries in Toronto where he, his wife Judith, and their two children reside. For information in booking Colin as a speaker, please visit connectministries.org

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN SEVEN MAGAZINE.

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