I attended a wedding ceremony recently, and the pastor quoted from Matthew 7:
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matt 7:24-27, NLT)
Then the pastor (in his great Cajun accent) said to the couple:
“This we know—bad weather will come.”
Ah, true. And here in Louisiana and Texas, we’re familiar with bad weather.
My daughter, raised in Louisiana, was familiar with hurricanes. We usually know about them for days in advance; we watch them lurch and lumber from the Gulf of Mexico and make their way onto land, bringing howling winds, drenching rain and, at times, devastation.
As a young adult, she moved to Texas and experienced her first tornadoes. Sudden, completely unpredictable, seemingly random in their hit-and-miss destruction.
She called me one afternoon, borderline hysterical.
“Mom, they keep saying on the news to ‘Take tornado precautions!’ What the heck are tornado precautions??”
“Baby, I don’t know—get in the tub?” (She survived, by the way).
Storm preparations vary according to the weather we’re facing. We buy batteries and drag out flashlights and candles. We gas up our cars and stock up on bread and bottled water. Sometimes we have days to prepare and sometimes all we can do is jump in a tub, drag a mattress over our head and pray.
It’s the same in our marriages. Sometimes, we see the storm coming from a long way off—we know about an upcoming move, job transition, impending family crisis. We get nine months to get ready for the beautiful storm of childbirth. When we know the storm is coming—it’s on the radar—we have time to prepare, to pray, to seek counsel.
And other times, the storm pops up out of nowhere. An unexpected diagnosis, a devastating confession, a layoff, a sudden loss. Without a moment to spare, we have to hunker down in the safest spot we can find and pray like there’s no tomorrow. The passage in Matthew 7 makes one thing clear—the bad weather will come. There will be torrential rain, floodwaters and punishing winds. No person, no marriage, is exempt.
So how do we protect our marriages in the storm?
Jesus says we build on the rock—by listening and putting into practice his teaching. And what did He teach? Well, he had just wrapped up the most radical lesson ever in the Sermon on the Mount. How do we apply those teachings to our marriages—not just hearing, but doing? Here are a few building blocks:
- Be salt. I love that we are called to lives of flavor—well-seasoned, well-preserved. Are your actions and words creating something wonderful and healing in your marriage?
- Be light. Are your good deeds on display in your home? Not so you can have bragging rights, but to reflect glory back to God, the source of even our ability to do good?
- Watch your motives. You probably haven’t committed murder recently, but what about anger? Yep, Jesus says it’s just as bad. He’s pretty hard on name-calling and cursing too.
- Be careful. Sure, adultery is wrong—but so is looking lustfully at someone. (Even though the Internet wasn’t around when Matthew was written, I’m pretty sure it applies.)
- Stay married. (Simple. To the point.)
- Be a person of integrity. Don’t say things you don’t mean or make promises you don’t intend to keep. Be a person of your word, someone your spouse can trust—they’ll know your “yes” means “yes.”
- Be kind in your responses. Don’t get into battles and arguments and a cycle of retaliation and retort. Turn the other cheek.
- Be generous—to your spouse. And as a couple be generous, blessing others quietly, without expecting anything in return.
- Be prayerful. Pray simply, consistently, for one another and with one another.
- Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
- Don’t be anxious. Avoid the whole cyclone of worry that can lead to blame and misery. Cultivate contentment.
When the winds howl, we hang on to Jesus—and each other—and we’re not easily shaken because we’ve built a solid foundation of obedience, trust and gratitude.
We may get blown around or hit by the occasional piece of flying debris. But we know where the shelter is:
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety.” (Psalm 91:1-2, NLT)
How do you prepare for storms in your marriage? Start a conversation with your friends by sharing one of these pictures: