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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” —Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV)
I can’t believe that 2016 is almost over! Maybe you have thought the same thing; each month, birthday, or life event that passes marks the amount of time that is expiring right in front of us. I am sure you can think of moments of extreme joy over victories, accomplishments, and experiences that you hope to never forget over this past year. You may also recall difficult moments where things did not work out the way you hoped, and even other times where the mundane led to apathy from the inactivity of your greatest hopes and desires.
Your marriage will also experience these ups and downs throughout your years together. When’s the last time you and your spouse took the time to process, evaluate, and grow together, allowing each of life’s circumstances to make both of you and your marriage stronger? The ending of a year offers us a great opportunity to reflect on both our successes and areas to grow.
Every year over Christmas break, Priya and I will sit with our kids and each other to process the past year and look toward the next year. Most importantly, we give each other the opportunity to provide honest feedback about what needs to change and what we have seen grow in each other’s character. We have even commonly partnered with other close friends to provide feedback and accountability for the sake of growth, partnership, and our marriage’s health.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV) reminds us that “the end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Now you might be wondering, how does this verse apply to our marriages and the ending of the year? I am glad you asked! This verse tells us that at the end of a season we can form a balanced, clear, and right judgment after time has passed, and the purpose of that season is discovered. Then, one can determine how advantageous the efforts, goals, and strategy of the past year were for their family and marriage.
This verse also explicitly reminds us of the value of patience in this process. We all hope for goals that can be achieved overnight, but the word “patience” indicates that it will take time to achieve our hopes and desires. The last word of this verse should be a reminder that there are two people in a marriage! Never let your pride ruin the chance for your marriage to consist of two people becoming one in ideas, goals, and feedback. Pride can be a silent killer in your marriage. Allow patience to rule in place of your pride.
So our challenge to you, amidst your celebration of Christmas and the new year, is to set aside some time to give and receive evaluation. Start with your own personal evaluation, and then approach your spouse with the idea to give and receive feedback. Then pray and choose some goals for the new year that you believe God wants you to accomplish for His glory, your own personal development, and the enrichment of your marriage. Purpose to do the same for your children. Consider sharing your goals with close friends for accountability and feedback.
I have this dream for the marriages of Calvary Chapel that by mere intentionality between husbands and wives, we would be a loud declaration of the gospel to a county that so desperately needs an example of a man who knows how to love his wife, and a wife who knows how to respect her husband. We are praying for you as you enjoy this amazing season!