Valentine’s Day Musings

Lisa & I at Hyles-Anderson College circa '86

February 14, 2017

The Boston Baptist preacher, Francis Wayland, used the phrase “unreserved affection” to describe the kind of love that married people are to have for one another.  In a love-stunted world, I have had the pleasure of knowing 29 years of unrestrained, unselfish, romantic love from the wife that God gave me.  I met Lisa Schaap at Hyles-Anderson College in 1985, and we started dating that fall.  She has been my closest friend ever since.

While this blog does not provide the space for an exhaustive treatment of the subject of marriage and romantic love, nor would I be the one to write such a piece, I would like to offer a few simple thoughts concerning the good times that we have shared.  There are big-picture principles and suggestions galore - I simply chose a few that were on my heart.  

If I were to summarize my life with Lisa, I would say that it has been easyLife has not always been easy, but life with Lisa - always easy.  What we have together makes every dream bigger, the joys sweeter and each burden more bearable.  I contend that marriage does not have to be difficult.  Ours has been easy for several reasons.

Singing in Chapel at College in '89
The first reason is that Lisa and I share a mutual attraction.  While you may question her judgment (and I do not blame you for that), it is nonetheless true.  I am frequently stunned to hear preachers imply that the physical appeal is not important.  I even heard one pastor say he married his wife, not because his wife was attractive but because it was God’s will.  That is mystical nonsense.  The Bible does not tell anyone who to marry and your impulses, however strong, are not to be construed as a divine mandate.  Clearly, Sarah was “very fair [beautiful],” a reality not lost on Abraham (Ge. 12:11, 14).  Like his father, Isaac found a woman that was “very fair to look upon” (Ge. 24:16).  Rachel was preferred by Jacob because she was “beautiful and well favoured” (Ge. 29:17).  While Proverbs 31:30 warns us of attractiveness without character, saying, “Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain…” we still get the impression that the virtuous woman maintains her appearance, for “she maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple” (v. 22).  Song of Solomon speaks repeatedly about the attraction that comes with romantic love.  Who could deny the sensibility of such a thing?

A Blessed Old Couple Still In Love
The second reason that our marriage has been so easy is that Lisa and I have always held compatible views - we agree on everything that is important.  While I cannot imagine my life without her, I believe that our good times are to be contributed to our unity of faith and character, rather than some soul-mate concept from a Disney movie.  Both of our parents are hard-working, faithful Christians.  We grew up in Baptist churches where the Bible was believed and preached and we both had a strong desire to be used of God at a young age.  All I needed to do was get her to pull for the Crimson Tide instead of the Michigan Wolverines and all would be right.  Mission accomplished!  

Let me encourage you single Christians, have long, substantive conversations before you move toward marriage.  Discovering this kind of compatibility is essential.  If you are already married, work to develop shared views of life through faith in God and the knowledge of the scripture.

The third reason that marriage has been easy is that we have enjoyed life together!  We have always had our time from weekly dates to romantic get-aways.  We never used the kids or financial difficulties as excuses to keep us from finding ways to be together.  It has always been a priority.

Yes, walking with God, a good church, careful financial practices, proper child-discipline and many other issues factor into the dynamics of married life; but, if you are attracted to one another, you agree on all the big stuff and you have a good time together, you can face the routine obstacles of life with a rewarding resolve.

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