Seven years ago last night, Emily DeWitt and Joshua Wood were married and I was blessed to be the preacher of record; it is referenced in tonight's entry. It seems like yesterday! My students this year will discuss the story of the woman at the well in John 4. Remember how Jesus told the lady he knew she had been married five times and now was with a man she had not committed to in marital bliss. I ask if being married five times means you are good at marriage, like winning five Grammys implies you are a great singer. The kids will laugh but they will get the point: marriage is serious and not everyone excels at it. Below is a story from 10-29-06 about a marriage that garnered some attention in the press.
I began working on a wedding ceremony yesterday. In twenty days, Emily and Josh will celebrate their commitment to each other and I have been asked to officiate this occasion, an evening which will be solemn and joyous simultaneously. Part of my preparation involves reading highlights of the couples' lives from the perspective of the four parents. Added into the mix are my personal reflections of Emily, who was one of my first students at Westbury Christian School and one of my all-time favorites. Others in her graduation class of 2003 have married or are rapidly moving toward that conclusion. It's part of the life maturation process, which in my case simply proves I have some growing up yet to do. A number of my former students are getting married around either the Thanksgiving or Christmas seasons as the year dwindles down to its final sixty-some days. It's going to be hectic for a number of newlyweds (and their families!) before the dawning of January 1.
As I have programmed my mind into wedding mode, I noticed a news article on Saturday dealing with the marriage intentions of a young man in Europe. Ivelin Popov is an up-and-coming soccer star in Bulgaria. Apparently, the just-turned nineteen year old also has the reputation of being an out of control playboy. In response to their player's affinity for the wild life, the Litex Lovech soccer team has commanded Ivelin to get to the altar within a year and the footballer has promised to comply. News accounts of Popov describe him as being famous for "countless girlfriends and volatile temper." Readily confessing his shortcomings, Popov says he has a young lady in mind and plans to make her his wife before he turns twenty. I guess I am a romantic but I have never viewed marriage as a career move. When I have spent time with Emily and Josh, I see how they look at each other and I hear them speak of spiritual matters. In contrast, see how Popov describes the concern of his soccer employers: "They want me thinking only about football and the marriage will probably help calm me down." If he's thinking about his job/sport all the time, what does that leave for the future Mrs. Ivelin Popov? In its earliest teaching on marriage in Genesis 2, the Bible stresses that a man should be united to his wife AFTER separating himself from his family. Maybe we could translate father and mother as soccer squad and teammates. I hope the young lady in Bulgaria refuses to marry under those circumstances. Ivelin Popov is simply putting a new spin on the ancient phrase having to get married.
Applicable quote of the day:
"In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage."
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