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Monday, January 26, 2015

Success Though Marriage

A careful look at life in the rearview mirror will always reveal key moments, decisions, and opportunities that helped shape us. Some have chosen to express these treasured experiences as kairos moments. This comes from an ancient Greek word that includes meanings like “opportunity,” “season,” or “fitting time.”

A few of mine easily come to mind. Early in my sophomore year of high school, my family moved from Minneapolis to Sidney, Montana. The student body in Sidney was about one fifth the size of my previous school. This new “season” afforded me the occasion to rise from relative oblivion among many to enjoy greater opportunity in the smaller setting. It was life changing.

Another of my kairos moments came while at Bible college in Seattle. My roommate and I were quite dissimilar. We had different upbringings and interests and rarely hung out together. But after our spring break, he arrived back on campus with a hobby of his — a 10 watt radio transmitter. He arranged to hook this up to my record player and we broadcast a radio signal on our campus. Again, it changed my life. I was introduced to the world of radio and it became my vocation.

A third kairos moment came a few years later while at choir practice at the chapel of McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. Having recently exited the Air Force, I was offered free housing for a few weeks if I agreed to sing in the choir as I had during my active duty time. At one rehearsal, the wife of a Chaplain turned and asked me if I would be interested in dating her daughter who was soon to visit. After seeing a picture, I agreed. We met. Fell in love. Married. And, again, the rest is history. Rhonda and I just celebrated our 38th anniversary this month.

Marriage changes our lives in many ways. Aside from the obvious challenges of learning how to live with your mate, there are the myriad of experiences you navigate. Marriages rise and fall on the trials you may face. If there is no serious commitment, danger lurks everywhere.

On the other hand, a spouse can and should be an enormous blessing. Perhaps more than we are even aware. Catch this line from an article I read recently on the impact of a spouse: “Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that people with relatively prudent and reliable partners tend to perform better at work, earning more promotions, making more money, and feeling more satisfied with their jobs.”

The author was careful to avoid suggesting that selecting a marriage partner should be based on only selective advantage criteria. Likewise, one should be advised against ending a marriage if the spouse is not a perceived asset to a career.

My point is that I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who adds immense value to my life in so many ways. She has advanced me socially and supported me in my most difficult seasons. Rhonda is an asset in any environment in which she is present. I am very proud of her no matter where we go. Truly, she has helped me personally and professionally.

Incidentally, the Bible uses the word kairos or related term 86 times in the New Testament. In one particular reference, we hear the apostle Paul challenge us all who hear the message of the Good News of Jesus this way: “I tell you, now is the time [kairos] of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NIV)

I am very grateful for God’s guiding hand in providing these kairos moments — or whatever you choose to call them. My life and my faith have been shaped by them. I advise you — be on the lookout for them.

And watch out who you sit next to in choir.

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