FIRST-PERSON: David Jeremiah says marriage is like a song

David JeremiahFor most of us, the radio was part of our dating experience. That's why when we hear a certain tune, we smile and say, "Honey, they're playing our song."

So-called experts are always putting together "Top 100" lists, so I wondered what songs would be listed as the Top 100 love songs of all time. According to one study I saw, the top pick was George Harrison's "Something," sung by the Beatles in 1969. No. 2 was Elton John's "Your Song." Also high on the list were Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" and Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are."

No one ever interviews me for these lists, but I might have suggested a few other songs, like "The Way You Look Tonight," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" and Sinatra's whimsical, "Love and Marriage."

There's nothing more pleasant than a dinner alongside your beloved with music in the background reprising love songs. Every generation has its own batch. I'm glad for songs that speak of the permanence of marriage and the enduring nature of love. We mustn't let that music fade. Certain notes should always be playing in our hearts, and the passing of years should only refine the tune.

Marriage is like a song. That familiar chorus represents the heart of the relationship, and different verses embody the different moods and seasons of marriage. Sometimes the music is upbeat and exciting; sometimes it's mellow and tender. But the important thing is to keep the music fresh so we don't just play the "same old song."

The elements we need for a dynamic relationship with God are the same we need to keep our marriages in tune and our lives harmonious. Let me suggest four elements for a melodious marriage, using the letters SONG.

Sensitivity

Just as good musicians are sensitive to the strings and keys of their instruments, a good husband and wife learn to be sensitive to the other's needs. Marriage counselor William F. Harley Jr., suggests this key question: What could you and your spouse do for each other that would make you both the happiest?

Openness

That leads to the "O" in SONG: openness. This has to do with the way we communicate. Several types of communication make up the fabric of our relationships. The first is Small Talk. A communications expert once said, "For many of us, small talk is hard work...." But, "It builds rapport and often leads to bigger things."

One of those bigger things is Serious Talk. There are times when we must have heart-to-heart talks about things we're concerned about.

The third kind of talk is Self-Talk. That's when we open up and talk about our problems, our fears, our hopes, our ambitions, our inner feelings.

A fourth kind of necessary communication is Soul Talk, talking about matters of the soul, including the Lord Jesus.

The last kind of talk important for healthy marriages is Sweet Talk. This includes terms like: Honey, Sweetheart or Baby. Think of this as verbally snuggling. Few marriages fail when couples communicate openly on all five levels.

Nearness

Couples need physical nearness, not only in the intimate act of marriage, but in time spent together. Despite our busy schedules, my wife Donna and I manage to sneak away sometimes from our normal demands. We have regular dates, just as we did when we first met. We slip into a corner booth of a restaurant and enjoy an unrushed meal with soft music in our ears and in our hearts.

Going to church

The "G" stands for going to church. I don't care what the surveys say about the divorce rate among churchgoing people, I can tell you this: When a couple worships together each week, and when their worship experience overflows into their daily lives, they are blessed. The couple who builds their marriage in Christ is building on a solid foundation.

Therefore, don't get stuck on the same old song. Jazz things up. Keep the music going in your marriage. Keep a song in your heart.

David Jeremiah is pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and founder and host of "Turning Point for God." For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org. This column has been approved by Turning Point for redistribution in Baptist state newspapers; for other reprint requests, contact Myrna Davis at mdavis@turningpointonline.org. 

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