Posted tagged ‘marriage’

Marriage is a Great Way to Fly

February 24, 2017

Dr. Steven J. Callis

A hot air balloon sighting in our area is a rarity, so I was delighted a few years ago to see one in close proximity to our home.  It was flying lower than others I have seen, and by the time it was above our house, the vessel was within 400 feet from the ground.

                My middle school daughter and I decided to follow it in my truck, as it seemed to be searching for a place to set down.  About a mile down the road was a large clearing surrounded by a wooded area on three sides.  We stopped to watch, and as the balloon neared the ground it hit hard with a thud, and then its momentum dragged the basket across the lea, bouncing it along the way and, at one point, nearly toppled the occupants out completely.

                Then I heard a loud “whoooosh” and the balloon began to rise, barely missing the tree tops as it ascended back into the air.  We followed it into a neighborhood, and then to a public park where it skimmed slightly above the large pond before again ascending towards the sky.

                Finally, the pilot successfully landed the aircraft in a lot much smaller than the field in his earlier attempt.  He quickly anchored the vessel to the ground with large ropes, and then asked the bystanders for his location so that he could radio his son to come retrieve the balloon.

                There were about 15 of us watching with great interest.  While he waited for his son to arrive, he offered to take any interested onlookers up in the balloon about 200 feet while still anchored with the ropes.  My daughter took advantage of that opportunity.  Having seen his earlier attempted landing, however, I opted to be the videographer for her keepsake.

                It turned out that the young man and woman on board with him on this excursion were engaged to be married, and this balloon ride was a wedding present from one of their friends.  It must have been a friend with strong connections, because each of them was actually allowed to pilot the balloon, and one of them attempted a landing!   That explains the near disaster back in the open field!

                I thought how this almost married couple’s balloon ride paralleled the marriage on which they were about to embark.  There are high points, low points, and occasional bounces and rough spots along the way.  However, when a man and woman give themselves completely and unselfishly to the other, marriage can and should be an absolutely amazing journey!

                Unfortunately, we tend to get caught up in busy schedules, careers, debts, and other distractions that force the relationship to take a back seat where it is sometimes ignored, and at other times is a seeming nuisance.  The attention and efforts it received during the dating phase becomes crowded out by other concerns, and far too often both man and wife gradually change their quest from pleasing each other to satisfying their own ideals and ambitions, which inevitably leads to conflict

                I was not there, but I am quite sure that the people in the balloon were not wildly flapping their arms in the wind to make the aircraft fly.  They let the balloon and the wind do what they were meant to do, and the occupants simply enjoyed the ride and the beautiful view.  Marriage can be like that when we give ourselves completely to each other.    

With This Ring

July 25, 2014

by Steven J Callis

It was long thought that there is a vein in the human body running from the ring finger of the left hand to the heart. The advancement of science eventually proved that to be a false notion, but the sentiment is beautiful as to the reason for wearing the wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Another explanation of the tradition is that long ago in a religious wedding ceremony, the priest would bless the marriage by touching the ring to the thumb and saying, “In the name of the Father.” He would then touch the ring to the forefinger and say, “and of the Son,” followed by touching the ring to the middle finger and saying, “and of the Holy Ghost.” Finally, the ring would be placed on the fourth finger as the priest declared, “Amen.”

Yet another explanation is that the fourth finger is the most protected of all the fingers, and the majority of people tend to use their right hand more than the left hand. Hence, the fourth finger on the left hand would be the most protected of all. This idea is not nearly as romantic or symbolic as the others, but many people believe it to be the most plausible theory.

If choosing to accept the latter of these derivations, we could actually find a bit of symbolism in it, too. Marriage is a bond and foundation of a home and family. The home being one’s refuge from the wiles and crises and stresses of the everyday world, marriage should, indeed, be protected. While there are many external causes for failing marriages and divorce, the problems nearly always begin within the marriage itself.

After you have overdone it at the local food buffet, the last thing on your mind is stopping at DQ for a Blizzard or sundae; food is not appetizing when your tummy is completely satisfied. Similarly, when a relationship is solid, satisfying, and need-meeting, the external distractions and temptations lose their appeal and power. For this reason, husbands and wives must guard their treasure called marriage.

As the relationship matures, changes are inevitable. We change as individuals, we change as events and circumstances impact our lives, we change as our physical health diminishes, and as we face the challenges of parenthood, career, faith, aging, and the empty nest. Refusing to acknowledge and deal with those changes can derail a relationship. The marriage must allow room for the relationship to grow as it matures.

So take a moment and consider that band on your left hand ring finger. Let it remind you of the necessity to deliberately protect what you have vowed to keep forever. Your marriage can be the very foundation of your home as a refuge.

After You Say, “I Do”

August 1, 2013

After you Say I Do

By Steven J. Callis


Before you say, “I do,” much attention is given to even the smallest details of the relationship between a man and woman.  Considerable thought is given to making each date special: what to wear, where to go, and what to do.  Each is careful to treat the other with respect, consideration, and attentiveness, in hopes of leading to a deeper, more significant experience.

As the relationship progresses to the “I will” stage, primary attention shifts to marriage, and especially to the wedding ceremony.  Significant time, money, and energy go into planning all the details to make this event the perfect day.  While there are glitches in most every wedding ceremony, those uninvolved in the planning do not notice those imperfections – except the one when the ring bearer decides to army-crawl on his belly down the aisle, and even that made the occasion quite special.

Oh, if only a husband and wife could be so determined and focused after they say I do as they are in the months or years that lead to that moment in the ceremony.  However, we tend to grow comfortable with each other, and the demands of career and household chores and finances and other adult responsibilities – and eventually the time and energy devoted to children – all tend to distract us from the relationship itself, which was once the main focus.

It almost seems backwards, does it not?  It is as though we change our focus from what we can be for the other person to what we want the other person to be for us.  What happens to those earlier desires to demonstrate respect, consideration, and attentiveness – to impress the one who attracts us?  How could we let those desires slip away?  After all, who deserves that consideration more than the one who chose to say, “I do, till death us do part?”

The sincere desire to be there for the other person goes a long way in overcoming the obstacles and passages of a marriage relationship.  Willard Harley’s book, His Needs, Her Needs, reminds the husband and wife that mutual focus on the needs of the spouse moves both persons toward completeness; God’s design for marriage.  Oh, that a husband and wife could be so determined and focused after they say I do by demonstrating respect, consideration, and attentiveness towards each other in the quest of their happily ever after.

Let Me Count the Ways

February 9, 2012

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

I read recently that more than one half of cards sold for Valentines Day are purchased within 48 hours of February 14, and that approximately one billion greeting cards are exchanged on this special holiday.  According to the Nielson ratings, Americans purchase 58 million pounds of Valentine chocolate at a cost of $345 million, including 35 million heart-shaped boxes of those sweet treats!  In addition to these gestures of love, florists boast the sale of 189 million stems of red roses during the Valentine holiday, and jewelry sales for this occasion rank second only to Christmas among all the holidays and seasons of the year.

Some “bloggers” claim that a man’s greatest fear is buying a Valentines gift that upsets or disappoints that special lady in his life.  I comically picture a big, strong, handsome guy anxiously pacing back and forth in the gift shop trying to decide how to avoid the wrath of an insensitive Valentine’s present.  This poor man has been convinced that Valentine’s Day is not about the love, but about the gift.

In our busy to and fro world, there are “built-in” days throughout the year that remind us of the importance to demonstrate our love and appreciation for special persons in our lives.  While I do make a daily effort to demonstrate and verbalize my love for my wife, I am thankful for a day like Valentines that provides the opportunity for me to say, “I love you,” in a special way.  Let’s remember on this Valentine’s Day that it really is about the love, more than it is about the gift.  One writer described it like this:

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  Love does not demand its own way.  Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record when it has been wronged.  It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Love will last forever. (The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 13, NLT)


One cannot place a price on that, but putting that kind of love into action surpasses any amount of chocolates, jewelry, and cleverly-worded greeting cards.  Love is not primarily a feeling; it is a decision that lasts forever.

If It’s Too Good…

January 18, 2012

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

TV ads usually do not catch my attention, but this one did: “Lose weight without exercise and eat all you want.”  Now that is my kind of weight-loss plan!  You may be among the 90% of Americans whose New Year’s resolution is health-related.  The national survey conducted by MorningStar Farms reported that more than two-thirds of New Year’s resolutions specifically center on weight loss.  The findings also revealed that 88% of those surveyed admitted failing in their quest, most of those within the first 3 months.

This TV ad targeted such persons!  Conducting a brief internet search, I found several websites with the same claim: Lose weight without exercise and eat all you want.  One site reported that, “Overweight, sedentary people who spent a week at an elevation of 8,700 feet lost weight while eating as much as they wanted and doing no exercise. A month after they came back down, they had kept two-thirds of those pounds off.” 

Another ad for losing weight without exercise touted a special belt to be worn around the waist while sitting still.  The belt has multiple settings and is designed to pulsate against the tummy for 15-30 minutes each session.  In other words, it is doing the workout for you!

Well, like they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Most experts will tell you that the most effective and permanent way to lose weight is proper diet and proper exercise.  Many people suffer because upon reaching their desired weight loss, they stop dieting and return to life as usual.  Proper weight maintenance for most people, however, is a continual process – a daily, or at least weekly monitoring of food consumption: what, when, and how much.  In other words, the process never ends!  It must be a lifestyle of eating right foods and following a proper exercise routine.

The same can be said of most things in life.  Family counselors contend that marriage requires work, effort.  Why?  Because the relationship grows and changes with the passages of life and surrounding circumstances.  There is a continual monitoring and adjusting in a relationship.  This also is true about your occupation, your friendships – even your church.  In terms of life in this world, most of our time is spent on the journey rather than at the destination.  There is no easy answer, no quick fix.  We must determine to develop good habits and right priorities, an ongoing process of daily living.  At the heart of it all, we must allow those things that matter most, those things of highest value to us, to serve as our compass and purpose for living.  As for me and my household, we will serve the living God.