By Kyle Idleman
I visited my hometown not too long ago. It’s always terrific seeing everybody. My cousin and I spent some time with Grandma. We all climbed into the car and drove to the cemetery to visit Grandpa’s grave.
There’s a special brand of quiet in a graveyard. So many lives gathered in silence. I glanced at my grandmother’s face and saw the thoughtful look of yearning on her face. I thought to myself, She’s still married to him.
Sixty years they were together in marriage. Death is an ominous punctuation mark, but after that long together, you’re no less married. The headstone next to Grandpa’s was blank. We knew this spot was reserved for her. Yet a place in Grandma’s bed was blank, too. She told us how she’d find herself reaching over to touch him in the darkness, just sure he’d be there. She’d call for him in the next room, certain he’d appear in the doorway.
Some commitments are so strong that death itself can’t break them. Physically we may be apart, but spiritually and emotionally, the connection is alive and powerful.
“Love is as strong as death.” Wow. That may be the most powerful sentence in Solomon’s book of love—especially when you understand the imagery in these words. A seal was generally a ring you pushed into clay to make an impression. It left a mark that said, “Mine; hands off forever.” You didn’t place a seal on something that wasn’t valuable.
But notice that Solomon’s wife herself was a seal: “Place me like a seal over your heart.” It’s all part of the oneness, the one-flesh nature of marriage. That’s why it’s as strong as death, as unyielding as the grave. Jealousy comes from the same root as zealous. If anyone else tries to take my place with my wife, you’d better believe I’d be jealous—righteously jealous. Because I’m zealous, committed, sold out for her love.
The wedding ceremony is all about marking this relationship as permanent—setting a seal on each other: Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours. But what’s more important is that the marriage itself be all about that. Do you have a forever mentality in your marriage? Has “Till death do us part” become woven into the fabric of your relationship? Truly married couples don’t think, “I can live with this person”; they think, “I can’t live without this person.”
It’s fascinating to me that just as we set a seal on one another’s hearts, the New Testament speaks of God setting his own seal upon us (see Ephesians 1:13). Marriage is a reflection of the love of God. Decide that the word divorce will not be in your vocabulary. You are united as one and you cannot consider life without your spouse any more than you would consider life without your arms or legs.
Talk about the seal on your hearts today—about growing old together, about caring for one another, even as health declines for one or both of you. Ask God to strengthen that seal. What will be the rewards of staying together for the long haul? Comment below and share with us what ways has your sense of commitment increased and your love deepened since the wedding?
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