Not long after I married my husband, David, we celebrated his parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. It was a beautiful celebration at the church, and it seemed like a lifetime away before I would see or experience that milestone in my own marriage. At the time, my mother and father-in-law seemed to have what I thought was a picture-perfect marriage. She adored him, and he lavished her with everything a woman could ever want—love, attention, gifts—you name it.
More than twenty years has passed since that moment in time, and I have come to see that their marriage is far more than being picture-perfect. Their marriage exemplifies the love, the faithfulness, and commitment spoken of in Ephesians 5, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord….Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.
I will never forget one Sunday morning while sitting on the front row of church, hearing my father-in-law minister about marriage. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he told the congregation, “Today you only see us and our lives on the ‘other side’ of the Word. You see how God has blessed us, and you see how happy our marriage is, but what you didn’t see were the trying times—the nights we spent together attempting to warm ourselves by the stove because our gas was cut off, with my wife telling me how much she loved me, believed in me, and appreciated me. Together, in those difficult days, we took hold of the Word and by faith we came out together.”
I Peter 3:7 came alive in me that morning, and I saw what it truly means to be …heirs together of the grace of life. Although I didn’t know them in their early days and have the privilege of watching them come out of difficult times then, I have witnessed the two of them stand strong and united in the face of seemingly impossible situations and prove out this passage in I Peter 3—heirs TOGETHER of the grace of life.
A book could be written about the exemplary marriage of Scott and Phyllis Webb, but if there is one thing that stands out to me, it is UNITY. I have never known them to drift into their own direction like so many married couples do. After forty-five years of marriage, there is a love and a peace that flows between them that doesn’t exist for most married couples I know.
Friend, there is great promise contained in I Peter 3, and the key to being heirs together of the grace of life is keeping the Word at the center of it all. No matter the season of life—whether young and experiencing lean times, or middle-age and experiencing challenges with children, or older and dealing with physical difficulties—the Word contains the answer for every challenge we face, and when a married couple develops the lifestyle of “the Word first,” there are no limits of what God can and will do through them.
The world consistently bombards us with the rhetoric of “find your own way,” with no regard to the sanctity of marriage and the blessing that God created it to be, but we as believers must recognize and act in accordance with the higher way—the Word way. Throughout the years I have heard countless teachings on marriage, each one pointing out their “key” to a successful marriage. While many marriages have been helped from these keys, I believe keeping the Word first and in the center of every decision is the master key for a successful marriage.
When I look at the life and marriage of Scott and Phyllis Webb, I see having come to pass Ecclesiastes 4:9 which says, Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. The two of them together have impacted countless lives. They have carried the Gospel and the spirit of faith around the world. They have built churches and Bible schools. They have saved marriages and families. They have demonstrated to my generation what it means to honor and esteem the gifts God places in the earth. And as I listen to them today, their focus and determination is on the generation that follows me—to show them God’s power.
The opportunity to bear this kind of fruit exists to any married couple who chooses the Word above all else, and I’m so very thankful for the example that God gave me in Scott and Phyllis Webb. Watching the two fulfill being heirs together of the grace of life makes me excited for the “long haul.”
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! And THANK YOU for demonstrating a God-centered marriage!