“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).
Philippians 4:4–9 became my “life verses” during my years as a student at Bible college. This was the time that my husband and I were beginning our journey as newlyweds. After 80 years of life and nearly 60 years of marriage, we continue to be thankful for the rejoicing aspect which has graciously contributed to our growing old together gracefully.
I reflect now on that journey. Our decisions to receive Christ were made when we were eight years old. Great friendship continued through our elementary years, and a struggling and tough “courtship” was our experience through the high school years. That was followed by a marriage engagement during our freshman year in college. That engagement lasted about six months and was followed by what my husband Robert refers to as “the silent years.” There was “silence between the two of us, but we were both to learn that our Lord was not silent with either of us.
When we restored communication, we were delighted to learn that each of us were clearly refocused on, and committed to, God’s will for our lives. Soon we were ready to restore the engagement and plan the wedding, but only after knowing that God’s will for us together involved Christian ministry in a vocational way. I became a professional nurse and Robert had prepared for a career in the world of financial management. These preparations served us well as we began to refocus our future with Christ.
“Rejoice in the Lord” is a command for us. We are under orders to rejoice always. Circumstances cannot be allowed to change the always nature of rejoicing. This commandment is one I grew to love. It has protected me, and our marriage, from the tendency to be picky about the times I rejoice. It has provided for me clear instructions about what I am to do when my inclination may be to fuss, argue, complain, or even fight.
This is a commandment I love. It surely has saved me a lot of time and provided for me, and for our marriage, a lot of delight. I must say that rejoicing has been a key factor in our “growing old gracefully as a couple.” I rejoice in the fact that Robert totally agrees with me on the matter and that he rejoices with me in all of my rejoicing.
Now I must go further with the way my life verses have contributed to “our growing old gracefully as a couple.” We are to conquer the anxieties of life with the application of prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Prayer and supplication with thanksgiving are vital in every situation of life—the great times and the tough ones.
We prayed when Robert was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. We prayed when our daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50. In our praying, we gave thanks. We did so because we are told to do so “in every thing” (1 Thess. 5:18). It is always God’s will for us to give thanks. Giving thanks to God does not depend on the situation. It does depend upon our obedience to do so.
Such thanksgiving opens doors to victory through the trials of life. This thing with the cancer opened doors for us to be a blessing to others. It opened the doors of experiencing God’s peace through Christ Jesus.
I must say that thanksgiving has been a key factor in our “growing old gracefully as a couple.”
- Make sure your marriage is on a firm foundation.
- Apply the Scriptures to your living and loving.
- Protect relationships with your children.
- Make the church a vital part of worship.
- Count it all joy with kindness, tender hearts, and forgiveness.
- Grow old together gracefully.
This chapter was written by Amelia Alderman, wife of Pastor Robert Alderman.
The chapter was taken from The Extraordinary Wife