Tammy and I have been married for 3 years today… though it seems longer. This meditation on duties is a good reminder of the more objective goals.
Happy Anniversary Tammy. May the LORD be pleased to conform our marriage to that which mirrors Christ and His Bride, the Church, Eph 5.
I pray you next tell me my duty to my wife, and hers to me.
The common duty of husband and wife is,
1. Entirely to love each other; and and therefore choose one that is truly lovely…; and avoid all things that tend to quench your love.
2. To dwell together, and enjoy each other; and faithfully join as helpers in the education of their children, the government of the family, and the management of their worldly business.
3. Especially to be helpers of each other’s salvation: to stir up each other to faith, love, and obedience, and good works: to warn and help each other against sin, and all temptations; to to join in God’s worship in the family, and in private: to prepare each other for the approach of death, and comfort each other in the hopes of eternal life.
4. To avoid all dissensions, and to bear with those infirmities in each other which you cannot cure: to assuage, and not provoke, unruly passions; and, in lawful things, to please each other.
5. To keep conjugal chastity and fidelity, and to avoid all unseemly and immodest carriage with another, which may stir up jealousy: and yet to avoid all jealousy which is unjust.
6. To help one another to bear their burdens (and not by impatience to make them greater). In poverty, crosses, sickness, dangers, to comfort and support each other. And to be delightful companions in holy love, and heavenly hopes and duties, when all other outward comforts fail.
-Richard Baxter, Works, IV:234 (The Poor Man’s Family Book, 1674.)