So Bonita and I have been married for 25 years by the grace of God. June 15, 1991 she walked the aisle at Faith Baptist, St. Thomas, and I got to kiss the bride.
She was out to Alberta for a week and a half and we celebrated our anniversary early. We had a wonderful Greek meal in Cochrane (baked feta is amazing stuff, thanks for recommendation Pastor Seth). We enjoyed the mountains of Canmore and did some hiking and never even made it to Banff…we’ll have another chance for that later in the year. Last time she was out she spent a lot of time painting my office, home hunting, and we did spend a fair amount of time with people over meals. This time it was more r and r. I dearly love this woman and have grown to love her more. God’s grace has caused us to make it to twenty-five, but from a human standpoint we had the odds against us when we tied the knot.
I was new to the faith and she had grown up in church world. I brought in a u-haul of baggage to the relationship. I was part of the family of God, but a brand newbie. So many things that she had grown up with were foreign concepts to me and there is a biblical principle that I wished that I would have learned earlier: Marriage is to make you holy, not happy.
Let me say that I have experienced a lot of happiness in marriage, don’t get me wrong, but biblical happiness (or joy) flows out of personal holiness. The world’s happiness flows out of happenings. The world’s happiness flows out of the stuff of this life: the money, the toys, the things that are shiny and sparkly…and they fade and lose their shine…so we need something bigger and sparklier. Believe it or not, becoming like Jesus is a more joyful tract to be on. Paul wrote in Galatians 5 that joy is a fruit of the Spirit…a fruit that He wants to develop in us. And the more we see and savour Jesus the more we become like Him.
 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
People often hear me talk about discipleship in the local church body. The Great Commission is to make disciples and there’s a lot of formal and informal ways to do that. One of the informal ways is within the household and I’m not just talking about parents instructing children.
 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:15 ESV)
In the marriage relationship, we are to confront one another in love. She has done this with me and I’ve done it with her. Sometimes when I pull a bonehead move or say something dumb it would be easier for her to give me a slap on the back of my bald head…although that’s never happened. Sometimes I’ve been confronted in the heat of the moment but most times it’s been after the fact and everybody’s jets are cooled. There have been times I’ve corrected her, in love. And year after year there is a slow maturation into Christlikeness.
I still say dumb things…but I don’t think I do as much. Sometimes my timing to say things is suckaroo…but those things seem to happen less often. When she was out we both challenged each other in a couple of areas…and we were each better for it…and ultimately God was more glorified.
Once in a while Bonita will mix up phrases and I will correct her in private to help her to do it less in public but much more importantly we try to correct and confront one another in private because if that never happens we could do something really dumb in public…and it’s usually me. And the important part isn’t that they’ll think less of me but that they’ll think less of the Saviour, whom I claim to love. It’s not my reputation that is first and foremost at stake, it’s His.
So the next time you’re tempted not to say anything to your spouse, your friend, your sibling, because you might hurt their feelings, that’s okay: say it in love. Feelings may get hurt but our feelings are so much further down on the flag pole than exalting the Lord Jesus Christ with a God-honouring lifestyle, Spirit-led, gospel-empowered lifestyle. We need each other to present the truth in love…for our good and for the glory of the Saviour.