FIRST-PERSON: How to make your marriage soar
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- Shooting bald eagles -- with cameras -- is now a popular sport in America. Spotting their high-flying, sharp-sighted majesty is a national pastime. They soar and glide 10,000 feet above earth by catching updrafts. At 50-plus mph, they snatch leaping salmon. "The eagle ... spies her prey, from a very great distance" (Job 39:26-29).
Eagles teach us about God. "I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself" (Exodus 19:4). "Like an eagle teaching its young to fly ... the LORD kept Israel from falling" (Deuteronomy 32:11). "Those who wait on the Lord ... shall mount up with wings like eagles" (Isaiah 40:31).
Eagles are God's object lessons. Within the nature of eagles, He placed certain homing instincts that can teach us profound lessons about our marriages.
Male and female eaglets are committed. They pair up for life by age five and raise eaglets each season for 20-30 years. Only after one dies will the other seek a new mate.
Such fidelity is rare in "human" marriages today. Emphasis on permanence is lacking. Repeat, review, and remind yourself of your vows. We're warned: "Pay what you have vowed -- better not to vow than to vow and not pay" (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).
Take wedding vows seriously -- God does. Loving vows are happily kept. Cultivate friendship. Spend time together. Talk, listen, date, develop joint habits/hobbies. Stick together in sickness and health. Temper and temptation arise, but the sanctity of our vows safeguards with a failsafe boundary.
God expects us to keep our promises. Have eyes only for each other. Reassure your spouse and cherish the vows you made at the altar.
Watching for infiltrators, eagles guard the exclusiveness of their relationship.
Moral failure may begin with personal conversations with the opposite sex. When unfulfilled needs are met, you might drift unwittingly into hazardous waters. Beware of talking about personal things you aren't discussing with your spouse.
A 2003 USA Today article quoted psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass as saying there was a "crisis of infidelity" breeding in the workplace. "The new infidelity is between people who unwittingly form deep, passionate connections before realizing that they've crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love," Glass said.
Keep an eagle eye on your home. Be territorial, jealously guarding your exclusive marriage relationship. Men, avoid traveling or dining alone with another woman (and vice versa).
Keep relationships with co-workers professional. Never flirt, even in jest. The strongest marriages are in danger without the proper hedges. Practice vigilance. Seemingly small indiscretions can become major traps.
WORK ON THINGS TOGETHER
Mr. and Mrs. Eagle work hard building their nest and raising their family. The first years are the hardest. One nest that was found was 34 years old. Another 22 foot-deep nest weighed more than two tons. Nests provide soft beds for eggs.
Egg-sitting and "child"-rearing involves both parents. Marriage/home-building requires work from both partners. A divorce court judge once said, "In 25 years of presiding over thousands of divorces ... I can say that all of them had one thing in common -- one or both partners forgot to work on the marriage."
Work at communicating, loving, making time for each other, maintaining a cheerful attitude. Share chores. Keeping a marriage humming and a home running takes two. "Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do [marriage and parenting], as though you were working for the Lord" (Colossians 3:22).
BUILD YOUR NEST HIGH
Eagles build their nests high and well, providing a spectacular view and protection from predators.
How can couples build homes on high ground? Commit to walk with Jesus Christ every day. Go to church and worship together as a couple. Read your Bible together regularly and pray together. It isn't always easy, but it makes all the difference.
Turn a "sore" marriage into one that soars. Learn the lesson of the eagles -- be committed for life, practice fidelity, work together and build high. Catch the updrafts of God's love, and your nest will be secure.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).