by Jimmy and Kristin Jernigan, FBC members
Prior to taking our wedding vows, we literally applied the Boy Scout Motto: "Be prepared!" We sought every source we knew for marriage advice. During our 10-month engagement we consulted many married couples, read books, went to counseling, and attended a newly/nearly married Sunday School class. Mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and physically, we were as prepared as we could be before our wedding day, March 17, 2007.
Now that our one-year anniversary has come and gone, we look back at this time we used to prepare for our marriage with much appreciation, although at the time some of the advice we received was completely terrifying! We had both learned that marriage was a covenant, not just a commitment. We learned that we needed to serve unceasingly, constantly thinking of our spouse and putting his/her needs before our own.
What seemed to be overlooked in the advice that we were given is that even though selflessness, continual service, and even submission is difficult, when done through the love from the Lord, it is not only obtainable, but also a purveyor of joy! The Bible passages we selected for our wedding ceremony were 1 John 4:7-11 and Proverbs 3:5-6. We didn't realize it at the time, but the wisdom contained within these passages is exactly the advice that we needed. We have come to understand that those previous points of fear were not so bad when we love each other with the love the Lord blesses us with (1 John 4) and keep our hearts and minds focused on Him, and not on ourselves (Proverbs 3).