Wedding Rings

Wedding rings

Wedding rings (Photo credit: SParadisPhoto)

Burning Question:  I’ve noticed many people, including some in our church who are in leadership positions, who are married not wearing their wedding rings for various reasons.  What are your thoughts?

I could jokingly say that the men I speak to have told me that they are ashamed to wear them, but that may overload the jewelry stores with husbands scurrying to buy themselves a wedding ring to wear!  No, most would say that it gets in the way of their work as they work with their hands or that (clear my throat here), it just doesn’t fit anymore!

Wearing a wedding ring is a cultural and not a biblical issue . . . but it is a pretty big cultural issue!  The wearing of a wedding ring or choosing not to wear a wedding ring communicates something in today’s culture.  For one, it screams, “I’m taken!”  Or better, it screams, “I’m gladly taken!”  It would only be understood that to some, the lack of a wedding ring could possibly suggest, “I’m available.”  Alright guys, now don’t rough me up in the hallway the next time you see me because I insinuated that you are looking for someone despite the fact that you are married.  But, is your wife sure of that?  Does she wonder why you don’t wear your wedding ring?  Does she wonder why it seems so insignificant to you to be publicly identified in the most culturally relevant way as a married man . . . and married specifically to her, no less?

We don’t read of wedding rings in Scripture and I don’t have the energy to find some passage and twist it into an application for why you should wear your ring.  But let me share a passage for you to chew on and then apply to your situation.  In Song of Solomon 8:6 (now there’s a marriage book!), we read of Solomon’s bride asking that he make her “like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm.”  In the Old Testament days, seals were marks of identification and possession.  She was asking her husband to make a public display of his love, and their marriage.

So let me just suggest this.  Just get the ring (or let your wife pick it out) and wear it proudly.  It may not be comfortable and it may get in the way and you may even have to take it off from time to time to get some work done, but just honor her and proudly wear that ring to say to all who see you, “I’m taken!”  Better yet, “I’m gladly taken!”

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Inlaws or Outlaws

Gunfight at the ok corall (1)

Gunfight at the ok corall (1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Burning Question:  What does Jesus teach about having healthy relationships with in-laws?  This seems to be a source of many arguments and tends to drive a wedge in our marriage.

In-laws or outlaws, the choice is yours!  We have all heard the common jokes about in-laws but the truth is that in-laws can either be a great blessing or a huge deterrent in the marriage of their children.  Though we read nothing specifically about relationships with in-laws from Jesus’ words, we do have some insight from Scripture about that relationship.

In Genesis 2:24, God says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  Clearly the marriage relationship is a relationship with separation from parents.  However, this does not mean that the marriage relationship is to exclude parents.  Proverbs has much to say about the insight which comes from one’s father and mother.  When a couple has in-laws that understand their role and their boundaries, their insight can be a tremendous help in marriage.

Whenever conflict comes between a married couple and in-laws, it is often seen from two different perspectives.  The children see the in-laws’ involvement as some form of intrusion.  It may be unsolicited advice or demands placed upon the children.  From the in-laws’ perspective, conflict often comes because their children no longer have time for them and the son-in-law or daughter-in-law is viewed as having “stolen” their precious child!  Regardless of the way the conflict is perceived, it must be dealt with carefully and wisely by the in-laws and children alike.

In relationships with in-laws, always treat one another with respect.  Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother . . . .”  Though you are no longer expected to obey your parents as a married adult, you are commanded to honor and respect them.

Never let conflict with in-laws result in conflict within your marriage.  Yes it is extremely awkward and rarely profitable to be put in a position of having to choose sides between one’s in-laws and one’s spouse.  However, if ever in this position it is best to remember that your devotion is now first to your spouse before your parents, according to the principle of Genesis 2:24.

Keep in mind that communication is always the best way to resolve conflict (along with a healthy dose of prayer!)  Never be afraid to communicate through the conflict in a way which is respectful, kind, and clear, keeping the truth of Romans 14:19 in mind, “So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

Your in-laws can be your greatest source of encouragement within your marriage, so take the steps needed to keep your relationship with them healthy.  Find the right balance between charting your own marital course but staying close with them at the same time.  In my marriage, God has blessed me with absolutely incredible in-laws who have embraced me, encouraged me, and helped me in many ways.  However, they have also allowed me to lead in my marriage to their daughter without trying to impose their will upon me. Your in-laws can be a great blessing, so build that relationship, keep that bridge strong (don’t you dare burn it), and you will be better for it!