“The Good Outweighs the Bad”

I, Clifton, take you, Dixie, To be my wedded wife—to have and to hold—from this day forward—for better, for worse—for richer, for poorer—in sickness and in health—to love and to cherish—till death do us part—and therefore, I promise my love.”

Over the last twenty-six years I think we have covered just about all of that, well, except for the death angle. We’ve seen the “better and worse,” the “richer and poorer,” and especially the “in sickness and in health,” but it was the “to have and to hold,” and the “to love and to cherish” which kept us going through all of the other.

It was challenging from day one. To begin with, I was a widower with an eleven year old son and a pastor of the largest church in the community. I was living in the county where I grew up so everybody, and I mean, everybody knew who I was. Dixie and I would go out to eat and everyone in the church and half of Orange County knew about it before the sun came up the next morning. It was life in a fishbowl (it makes me feel sorry for Reed’s Tetras every time I look in the aquarium to this day). Dixie stepped into a world where I was still grieving the loss of my wife and daughter, preparing sermons, visiting the sick, preaching funerals, performing weddings, counseling angry husbands and wives, and at the same time trying to get to know her with the personal characteristics and intricacies that made up her own life. I get weary just thinking back on those days.

Yet, as Danny once said in the children’s book, “Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine,” (O the joys of the Scholastic Book Service and my education), she “jumped in head first with both feet.” And, I am glad that she did. The years of challenges have been real, but the loving and cherishing have made them worthwhile. As Dixie and I have said to each other often down through the years, “the good outweighs the bad.”

Marriage always reminds me of the words of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes, while not speaking about marriage, are a good description of what marriage should be:

9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.  10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.  11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?  12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecc. 4:9-12)

When marriage is made up of a Christian man, a Christian Woman, and Jesus Christ; it can last for a lifetime.



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