From the March 25 sermon “Reverse-Engineering Your Life and Marriage,” preached by Pastor Mark Driscoll:
The most important day of your marriage is the last day. What will that day look like? As you think about and plan for that, consider that you need Jesus, Jesus’ people, prayer and planning, as well as some flexibility and a sense of urgency. Pastor Mark interviews families whose marriage stories illustrate practically each of those biblical principles. We want to live purposefully, passionately, and presently, making the most of each day, just in case it’s the last day.
Sue: “I feel like there are many times that Bill could keep up with an argument for wanting to be right, and he will let it go. And I see it as being very sacrificial, and that is love, and I see him reflecting Jesus in what he doesn’t have to do, and then it makes me want to reflect Jesus to him.”
What does that do for a wife emotionally, knowing you don’t have to be God to him, you just get to be wife?
Marcia: Well, to me, it’s been that he’s— I asked him the other morning, I woke up—a man of few words, remember—I said, “What do you like best about me?” He said, “You’re there.” And right away then I go to Christ, and I say, “What did he mean?” And he said, “Well, that’s the way it is, where I feel that there’s a church. It’s mine. The church is mine. It’s there.” And that’s the way it is. He’s there for me. He loves me like a bride. Even though I’m old and gray, he still loves me like a bride.
I was there with you at your wife’s funeral. I mean, what’s that day like? I mean, every married couple—either the husband or the wife—is going to have that day, where, you know, the life that God has given you on earth has come to the end, and there’s that finality about it. What was that day like for you to bury your wife?
Pastor Bill: I think it was really off-balance, because I had gotten too much identity from being a husband. You know, I wasn’t solidly locked into, “I am bulletproof in Jesus.” You know what I mean? Jesus basically talks about, at the end of his Sermon on the Mount, that a wise man and a foolish man are going to build their house, and the rains are going to come, and the floods are going to come, and the wind’s going to come, and the foolish man’s house will collapse, and the wise man’s house will stand, because it’s built on Jesus.
And as Americans, I think we hear, “If you build your house on Jesus, the rains don’t come, and the floods don’t come,” you know, rather than the idea that your house stands through those. He doesn’t say, “I’ll make your life crisis-free.” He says, “I’ll make your life crisis-proof.”
And I really wasn’t there. I was getting as much identity from being a husband as I was from being a Christ follower. And so when she died, I didn’t know who I was. I had probably a month of just real disequilibrium.
You know, I mean, I’m grateful for the friends who would say, “Do you want me to come over?” I’d go, “No,” and they’d go, “Okay, I’ll be there in an hour,” you know? And just imposed themselves into my life, and brought rails that I would’ve run off of, you know? So, community rescued me, yeah.
Marcia: It’s been a privilege to be married to him. He’s put up with a great deal, and he’s really brought my soul to know the Lord in a very deep way. I’m extremely grateful to him.
Don: I’m grateful to her, too.
Marcia: We’ve always—when we were first married—you talked about a plan. I could see he was very quiet, so after much prayer, I decided he would do all the praying at night, when we cuddled in bed, for probably the first fifteen years or twenty years, and then we started both of us praying in bed, and now that we’re retired, we tell the children that’s probably our main ministry is prayer for them. “So, call us; we’ll pray.” And we often, four or five times a day—
Don: Yeah, pray for different people.
Marcia: We set chairs side-by-side, and we pray together. Prayer is where the battle is.
Marcia: Prayer is where the battle is. We have fought constantly through the years and we scrap fair, sometimes, sometimes. [. . .]
See, you have to realize that when you marry a man, he has shortcomings and I have shortcomings.
You’re both horrible sinners, and that’s the good part of marriage is, after fifty-five years, there’s no doubt you’re horrible sinners, and the heart is desperately wicked. But he taught me not to fight.
I’m much better at it, being quiet, and to yield. You know, your body, a woman yields quickly when they’re married, but a woman takes fifty-five years, or fifty years to learn to yield your spirit to a man. And I think it goes way back to the garden: we simply don’t trust Adam.