Updated: Aug 29, 2022
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matthew 22:30
In recent weeks, Dr. Tony Evans, the world-renowned, prolific speaker and pastor, endured the most challenging task many will face in life by burying his beloved wife of 49 years, Dr. Lois Evans, a champion for Christ in her own right, who went home to be with the Lord on December 30, 2019.
A few days ago, I watched a sermon Dr. Tony Evans delivered just days after the home going service of his wife ( https://youtu.be/Qa0quYA9pNU ), whereby he gave me a greater understanding, respect, and appreciation for marriage. In this mesmerizing memorial dedication, he elegantly spoke about their marriage and the years spent loving, challenging, encouraging, and supporting one another even at the disapproval of the other at times. This example couldn't be more evident as he explained how his dear wife, in her last earthly moments, requested to depart this world into eternity while he selfishly yearned to deny this heart-wrenching request. It's enough to tear at the core of your being!
You could see the pain that he was enduring as he tried to fight back the tears. In my opinion, he taught the world a precious lesson - love and appreciate your spouse while you still have them! This lesson is a critical message because the bible tells us in no uncertain terms that marriage will not exist in the life to come. In Matthew 22:30, Jesus says, "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." Since there is no death in heaven, the need to reproduce is not a necessity; hence marriage is unnecessary.
I was a bit taken back from this scripture, although I understand it. Marriage may not have an eternal purpose, but God, in my opinion, gave us this gift to demonstrate his unwavering love for us. And when we portray this type of love with another in life, it gives God the glory! He wanted us to have companionship and community until our day comes for that final call. Not everyone gets to experience this type of love and relationship. So if you do, consider it a blessing and thank the Lord for being able to share life with someone you love. Please don't take it for granted!
In light of Dr. Evan's significant loss, it encourages me to L.O.V.E., my spouse, even more! I'll explain further below:
Letting them know that they are a priority. We have a lot of competing requirements vying for our time. Whether it be work, organizations, children, hobbies, or ministry, but we should always examine them against the needs of your spouse and make sure they know they are first.
Observing their tendencies. By paying attention to their behaviors, habits, likes, and dislikes, it lets them know that we value them and are interested in and respect them as a person. Take time to note their favorites and surprise them occasionally.
Validating their feelings and emotions. Acknowledging that we sympathize with our spouse, and giving them our undivided attention, allows us to gain insight into their hearts and minds. When we do this, it shows that we care about what they may be going through and want to come alongside them to assist if possible.
Evaluating our progress. We should never get complacent in our relationships. It takes work, hard work, and we must be willing to make changes or corrections when necessary to maintain happiness. We do this by consistently identifying and communicating with each other about our shortcomings, without judgment.
We should endeavor to do whatever it takes in our marriages to ensure our spouses know how much we love and appreciate them. We simply never know when we won't be able too anymore!
Dr. Stephone A. Berry is an Associate Minister at Christian Faith Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in Ministry Studies and earned a Doctorate of Ministerial Leadership from Columbia International University.