When a man takes a new wife, he is not to go out with the army or be given any business or work duties. He gets one year off simply to be at home making his wife happy. Deuteronomy 24:5 (MSG)
Having been through a long-suffering marriage that ended divorce and having walked beside friends in their own marital struggles, I’ve found that the issues which plague a marriage are often present at the very beginning of a relationship. I’ve both experienced and heard many others say they could look back and see the problems which eventually grew to choke the relationship surfaced in the honeymoon and quickly spread through the early years of the marriage.
The first steps are critical to the success of the marital journey. The relational roles and patterns which are formed in those initial months very often set the course for the direction the relationship will take and the destination to which it will eventually arrive. This is not to say that couples can never overcome a rocky start to the marriage, but the truth of the matter is that they often do not.
How fascinating that God’s direction, given in ancient days, was for the groom to take a year off of work or war to spend at home with his bride. God makes it clear that time and proximity are crucial ingredients for the success of any relationship, especially that of marriage. Women are complex creatures in which men find eternal mystery. Unlocking that mystery requires our own God given sense focus, strength, and tenacity. If we go AWOL at the beginning of the relationship, it is very likely we will have lost the keys forever in our flight from responsibility.
It is said: “happy wife, happy life.” We men would do well to remember (and by that I mean we need constant reminder) that a woman’s happiness begins with a partner who is present, engaged and attentive. These ingredients do not guarantee the success of the relationship, but without them the odds of failure become a sure bet.