Legacy of a Good Marriage
Have you heard the term of someone "living in the moment?" It refers to someone who lives their life for immediate gratification without considering the consequences of what that could mean in the long-run. It doesn’t take into consideration any kind of legacy those types of actions could leave behind for others. The ripple effect of the consequences of their actions means nothing to them.
If you were to live your life that way continually, as if you lived on an island and whatever you did, didn’t matter or affect anyone else, what kind of world would you help to create? We know the world that God created for us. It was "good." But what kind of world, and what quality of life, are you creating for those around you? Would it be a world that would be enjoyable for those that come behind us?
The scriptures say, "’Everything is permissible’ — but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’ — but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others" (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). Do you take into consideration, the context of what these verses mean as you live your life?
Sadly, many people live their lives outside and within their marriages in such a way that they can sing the song, "I Did it MY Way!" Essentially, isn’t that the tune that the world sings? In other words, "Do unto me as I want done unto me, and I’ll do unto you as I want to do unto you. This is my life and you can’t tell me what to do or request from me what I don’t want to do. And if you don’t like it — that’s too bad for you! I don’t care whether it hurts your life or not."
But what kind of world does that type of attitude leave us? And what kind of marriages would an attitude such as that create? Lonely, sad, and pathetic! They certainly wouldn’t be the kind of marriages that reflect the love of the Lord. The Bible says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you" (Romans 12:2-3).
Several questions come to mind: What kind of world are you creating around you for others (especially your spouse and children)? What kind of a legacy are you living out for your children to see and to follow?
I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately because we had a neighbor die recently. As I attended her funeral, I saw her husband and her grown children stand in front of everyone and tell us all of what a wonderful wife, mother, and woman of God she was, and how the world was a better place because of how she lived her life. She left behind a wonderful legacy that has graced all who knew her.
At her funeral, her husband and grown children had printed up a brief testimony of her life, which included her birth, life, testimony of how she came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and how she lived out her life in the light of eternity in a positive way. She was a glowing example of a Christ-follower, as a wife, mother, friend, and woman of God in how she gave of herself sacrificially to others around her. And truly, as the Bible says, her children were able to "rise up and call her blessed" because of how she lived.
I’m reminded of a survey that was taken a while back (and written about in the book, "Before a Bad Goodbye" by Dr Tim Clinton), and the sad results it showed. "Only five out of a hundred spouses interviewed in a major marital study desired a marriage like their parents’. Just five. Why? There were a number of reasons given, but I ultimately believe it’s because your kids are watching. You may think you’re hiding the anguish produced by your inability to connect and love, but you’re kidding yourself. They hear it in every word to each other and see it in your lack of contact. It charges the air."
My husband Steve has expressed to me that it is his goal in life that the words to the song "A Man of God" written by Jeoffrey Benward, will exemplify his life. They are: "I hope they will say of me that I loved my children and wife. Most of all I hope they say, I loved Jesus more than life. So when I’m laid to rest; life’s journey I have trod, I hope my children will say of me, ‘Dad was a man of God!’ I hope they say of me, my words were gentle and kind; Most of all I hope to leave, a life of truth behind. So when I’m laid to rest, life’s journey I have trod. I hope they will say of me, ‘Here lies a man of God!’ Oh to be a man of God, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not what I did or did not do; But why I did it…and for Who."
We will all leave a legacy — negative, positive or so-so, what will yours be? As Tim Kimmel puts it in his book, "Legacy of Love", "Your words, your schedule, your choices, your obedience, the way you savor your victories and the way you swallow your defeats, all help to define your life. It is this definition that your children will rely on most as they seek to chart their own future." If your children were asked if they would want a marriage like their parent’s, would they say "yes"?
If you don’t have a spouse who wants to live in partnership as Christ would have, what about you personally? God didn’t listen to Adam’s excuse about how it was "the woman" he was given, who caused him to sin. And He won’t listen to your excuses about your spouse causing you to do what you shouldn’t. Can your children and those around you, truly look at you as a person of integrity — a living example of someone who reflects the love and character of Christ? THAT is a legacy worth living!
Think and pray about it. Today can be a new beginning for how you live out your life and the legacy you leave behind. We pray that you will make it a goal to live your legacy as one of a spouse who contributed good and not harm to your marriage. We pray that thousands of you will leave behind a legacy of a good marriage, to the glory of God.
Cindy and Steve Wright