Building Lasting Marriages
Night Light for Couples is a book Shirley and I wrote together, and is dedicated affectionately to married couples around the world. May the Lord grant you loving and caring relationships that will endure to the final moment of your lives together. It is our prayer that the following devotionals, just two from six months of daily features in our book, will help you achieve that worthy objective.
God's blessings to you all.
- Jim and Shirley Dobson
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'
ove can be defined in myriad ways, but in marriage "I love you" really means "I promise to be
there for you all of my days." It is a promise that says, "I'll be there when you lose your job, your health, your parents, your looks, your confidence, your friends." It's a promise that tells your partner, "I'll build you up; I'll overlook your weaknesses; I'll forgive your mistakes; I'll put your needs above my own; I'll stick by you even when the going gets tough."
This kind of assurance will hold you steady through all of life's ups and downs, through all the "better or worse" conditions.
The Lord has demonstrated throughout the ages that He keeps His promises—including the most important one of all, reserving a spot in heaven for each of His followers, for all eternity. Since God keeps His promises, we must keep ours too—especially the one we made before God, our family, our friends, and our church on our wedding day.
• What part of my wedding vow means the most to you now?
• In what ways has our pledge to "stick together no matter what" seen us through hard times?
• How do we benefit spiritually from keeping our commitments?
Dear Lord, give us Your strength today to honor our promises. May our word be our bond—to each other, to our friends, and to family and associates. Thank You that You never waiver on Your promises to us! Amen. 1
They should always pray and not give up.
hen I was only eight years old, I began praying for my dysfunctional family while alone in my bedroom. It still brings tears to my eyes to think that Jesus Christ was listening to me—a little child from a poor family—in those quiet moments. I had no status or influence in the community—no particular skills or talent that the Lord needed. And yet He accepted and blessed me in the years that followed. Those early prayers for a loving family, and later for a Christian husband, were answered beyond my greatest hopes and dreams. Some of you reading this tonight, however, have also prayed unceasingly for what you believe is God's will—yet you've seen no evidence that He has even heard your prayers. I know of one husband and wife who have prayed for the salvation of their children for more than twenty-five years, with no hint of change. To those in a similar situation: I understand your discouragement. I don't know why the Lord chooses to grant some of our petitions more quickly than others—but I do know that He honors the prayers of His righteous followers, and that we should stay on our knees before Him.
Luke 18 records the parable Jesus told about the widow who approached a judge, day after day, asking for justice against her adversary. For some time the judge refused. Finally, however, he gave in, "so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!" Jesus was telling us to not give up, but to pray persistently for the desires of our hearts.
I have based my life on my belief in the power and importance of prayer. That's why I agreed to chair the National Day of Prayer Task Force. And it is why Jim and I have made prayer the cornerstone of our marriage. Consistent prayer can also undergird and sustain your marital relationship through the years. We encourage the two of you to bow before our great, loving God—tonight and every night.
- Shirley Dobson 2
1. James and Shirley Dobson, Night Light for Couples (Tyndale House Publishers, 2000), 49.
2. James and Shirley Dobson, Night Light for Couples (Tyndale House Publishers, 2000), 39-40.
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