It is an amazing thing to see a man and woman joined in marriage. The look on the groom’s face as his bride walks down the aisle toward him. The bride’s expression as her husband vows his unending love. It is a beautiful event. The two young lovebirds may feel it is impossible to love each other more than they do in that moment.
But many Christian couples who have been blessed with long and sweet marriages know better. The ups and downs, unforgettable anniversaries, and late-night stomach bugs add a richness and depth to the marriage union that newlyweds cannot yet comprehend.
John and Matthew use this week’s podcast to read a few letters from godly husbands to their wives. These are not all sappy love notes (though there is a sprinkling of sappiness in the pages). These are romantic in the truest sense of the word and can be a great benefit to those who have been married for many years, those who are still in the honeymoon phase, and those who look forward in hope. These are letters of romance, but they are also journals of trails. (Links to all the letters mentioned in the podcast are under Show Notes below.)
0:00-3:00- John and Matthew introduce the letters of Thomas Charles. Charles’ wife suffered from a great deal of spiritual doubt. She was afraid she did not love Christ. She was afraid Christ did not love her. Thomas’ insightful questions reveal truths about her heart, her soul, and her Savior.
9:00- 15:00 How do we know if we are feeling guilt or conviction? Is the voice we are hearing from the Holy Spirit, from our own head, or deceptive whispers of the enemy? Knowing who is speaking will help us respond appropriately.
15:00-24:00 John and Matthew introduce letters John Newton wrote to his wife. They give two considerations before reading them. First, it helps us to understand that these letters span nearly the entire marriage. In the early years, Newton wasn’t a Christian and he idolized his bride. After his conversion, he had to guard his heart against that and he learned to love her appropriately. Secondly, it shocks us to learn that some of the letters were written while he captained a slave ship. These two realities teach us much about sanctification in the life of a believer and what repentance can and should look like.
27:00-36:00 Newton shows his humor and his pastor’s heart through his letters. In one letter, he exclaims how shameful it would be if the world were able to understand what made him happy. How could men who find cheap pleasure in prostitutes and drunkenness understand the joy he finds in his wife? Secondly, he pastors his wife through the slow, painful death of their adopted daughter through correspondence. John and Matthew share the entire situation and how encouraging it can be for Christians today who are experiencing hardship to read some of these letters.
36:00-44:00 The last collection of letters is from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Many see Dr. Lloyd-Jones as a staunch and fiery preacher. And indeed he was. But he was also a family man who deeply loved his wife and children. He understood and applied Ephesians 5 to his marriage.
Supporter Appreciation Episode:
Matthew mentions focusing on one more letter, a telegram. However, as we thought through that episode, we realized it was much more suited to a podcast. That will be out soon. In lieu of that, our Supporter Appreciation Episode is centered on a question we hear often, Why was John in Wales? What did he do there? John tells how he went from seminary in Memphis, Tennessee to a small town in Wales to study, what he studied, and what he learned from the church God placed him in during his time there.
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Thomas Charles’ Spiritual Counsels edited by Edward MorganThe Chrisitan Lover by Michael Haykin