On Saturday one of our good friends passed away. Mark never knew when he started his day that it would end in heaven. When he left his house to go to a local store he never knew his next destination would be his heavenly home.
Mark and his wife had plans for their weekend. Mark had projects to complete, grandchildren to play with, a wife to love, and business to attend to. Mark thought he knew what he would be doing on Saturday. His wife thought she knew what their plans were. But in a moment Mark was gone from a massive heart attack. Mark’s passing was sudden, swift, and unexpected. When his wife texted me (Heidi) the day after his death, she said, “We had so many plans….”
- We think we know what a day holds.
- We think we know what our plans are.
- We think we have years together as husband and wife.
- We think we have time.
- We think we don’t have to change.
- We think our spouse is the problem.
- We think we can wait to address some issues in our marriage.
- We think we’ll tell our spouse how much we appreciate them tomorrow.
- We think we’ll deal with that issue later.
- We think we’ll forgive another day.
- We think we’ll write that special note another time.
We think…we plan…we wait….and some of us miss living.
So how do we embrace the moment and live with our spouse today?
1. Recognize tomorrow is never guaranteed.
James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
When we got married I remember thinking how much time Brad and I had together. I thought 10 years of marriage was good, but 30 or 40 years was monumental and 50 or 60 years would be long enough. Today after almost 34 years of marriage I recognize how faulty that thinking was. There will never be enough time to love fully and to accomplish all our dreams.
I need to embrace each moment and each day because that’s all we have. I must love Brad each day as if it’s our last. I must be mindful of how I treat my husband and show respect to him daily. This doesn’t mean I live in fear or perpetual paranoia, but I make a choice to live each day with passion and purpose. I want to live with no regrets.
As a couple what are your priorities? What are some dreams you want to achieve? Don’t wait to pursue your dreams – start today.
2. Forgive quickly.
No matter how you look at it, life is short. Don’t wait to forgive your spouse. We never know how much time any of us have. I thought our friend Mark would be around for another conversation, another meal, another chance to hang out. He’s not. But…
- I still have the opportunity to begin again with my spouse.
- I still have the opportunity to right wrongs.
- I still have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness.
- I still have the opportunity to forgive.
- I still have the opportunity to change.
To live life to the fullest it’s important that I forgive quickly and not hold a grudge against my spouse. I can’t live a full life when I am focused on unforgiveness. A full life is a life free from anger, bitterness, and regrets. A full life is a forgiving life.
3. Practice joy.
Psalm 32:11 says, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”
Joy is a condition that comes from inside us. Joy is not dependent on outward circumstances. Jack Hyles said, “Joy is delight tested.”
Have you ever been around someone who is negative and critical? It’s discouraging and it’s a downer. Joyful people are like magnets. They draw you to them – their joy is contagious. You feel better just being with a joyful person.
When we decide to live with joy…
- We will look for the blessings that God has given us through our spouse.
- We will choose to focus on the positive characteristics of our spouse.
- We will focus on the best in our spouse.
- We will honor our spouse when given the chance.
- We will smile at our spouse and laugh with them.
- We will make it a point to thank God for our spouse.
The key to a joyful life is to express gratitude.
When I talked to Mark’s widow, she expressed joy in the midst of her sorrow. She told me she was blessed to be Mark’s wife. He loved her well and it was her privilege to have been loved by him.
Life is sometimes far shorter than we ever wished. Make the choice today to live life to the fullest with your spouse as you build your marriage.