Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12
So what is “blog-worthy”? Every day I learn stuff, I experience wonder, I interface with profound ideas, I move forward (or sometimes in reverse) in my journey as a disciple. But I can’t write about it all.
Some events, however, simply cannot pass without comment.
Saturday evening Rebekah and I got together with friends to celebrate a combined 140 years of being married. The idea came out of a casual conversation a few weeks ago when we realized we all had significant anniversaries. Fifty (Rick and Karen). Forty (us). Thirty (Ed and Kathy). Twenty (Denny and Judy).
So we met at a North Raleigh steakhouse, passed around wedding photos, and told stories. We laughed till we cried, and we also talked about what we consider the “secret” to successful long term relationships.
The “secrets” were pretty good – things such as kindness, patience, a sense of humor, compromise – but the stories were amazing. But I want to stay friends with this wonderful tableful of good people so you will never hear the best ones from me!
Authentic Spiritual Community:
We sat around the table and we did exactly what being members of a faith community is supposed to be all about: we shared our lives. We engaged with what I believe is one of the most important elements of marriages-that-work, and that is an active, encouraging, authentic spiritual community.
Not one of the four marriages around the table has been perfect – we have all struggled in various ways over the years. But when we struggle honestly we have the love and the support and encouragement of good people, and the undergirding of prayer and the context of a community that both believes in and practices faithfulness.
It wasn’t just the eight of us at Peddlers Steak House that night, Jesus had a place at the table too.
Here is my takeaway. Going to church will not guarantee a good marriage. However, investing ourselves in a community of faith, loving God and learning to walk with Jesus, being honest with one another and carrying each other’s burdens, and – most of all – allowing the Gospel of Love to live in and flow through us – clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience – all this will put you in the best possible place to grow a relationship that, in turn, tells the truth about what is possible when we love each other honestly and faithfully.
And, speaking for myself, I can’t imagine anything that can compete with honest, faithful, Christ-centered love – DEREK
These pictures are in groupings by couple. “Then” and now (around the table with friends).
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.