Recently, I attended the funeral of a fifty-eight year old man. He was survived by his wife, two kids, six grandkids and dozens of other family members. While I did not know the man very well, I knew his wife. As the service began, I watched the face of his wife. There was a mixture of joy and sorrow. He was a man of God and the family is confident that he is with the Lord now. My gaze moved to his son, a young army chaplain, and then to his daughter, a young mother of three. My heart broke for them. His death was sudden, completely unexpected, and he will be sorely missed. The service reflected on his life. He brought humor, dedication, trust, and a love for the Lord everywhere he went. As a marine, he went all over the world and his faith and his dedication to the Lord and his family did not waver. Even though he passed away at a relatively young age, he lived a full life and left a legacy behind for his children and grandchildren.
Throughout the service I just could not quit thinking about his wife. It hurt to watch the tears fall down her face – she adored him. It made me think about life and what it really means. If I pass away before Eric, I will not care if they say that I was successful in my field of choice. I will not care if they talk about awards I have won. I will not care if they praise me for talents or achievements. The only things that will matter on that day are these: Did I honor the Lord with my life? Did I cherish, respect and adore my husband? Was I faithful to my family and friends? Achievements burn; only what is done for Christ will last. What we do for our family, as long as it flows from righteousness, honor Him. You are in a relationship with someone now that may end up being your spouse. Fast forward to his or her funeral. Picture yourself on the front row surrounded by family and friends. Based on the character of your boyfriend or girlfriend, can you imagine being able to say at the end of his or her life, “He was a man of honor of whom I never lost respect.” or “She was a woman who deeply loved others and whom others deeply loved.”? Look around at your children. Will you be able to say, “My children were blessed to have been raised by my spouse.”?
It may seem morbid to plan a funeral before a wedding, but before you marry someone you should consider what you would say at their funeral. Does this man treat you as a treasure? Does he speak to you as he would to someone he cherished beyond measure? Does she respect you with her words and actions? Does she treat you as someone she would follow into the fire? If the Lord willed this person to leave this world tomorrow, what could you honestly say about his or her life?
The difficult thing to admit when we marry is that one of the pair, someday, will likely be left behind. When that day comes, what will you want to have said about your life with your spouse? What will mean the most to you when this mortal life comes to an end? What really matters? What do you want to accomplish in your marriage that will bless generations to come? This needs to be considered by the couple before the engagement ring goes on her finger. What will you two do to ensure that there are no regrets?
Begin with the end in mind.