Jesus said, "Love the Lord, thy God, with all your heart, your soul, and your mind."
~ Matthew 22:37
I will admit that I am the last person to give advise about relationships. When I was called to serve my first senior pastoral role, someone asked me at my first year anniversary, "So what's the main difference you have discovered between being a youth pastor and the pastor of an entire church?" (I had served two churches as a youth pastor prior to my being called to this church in this new capacity.)
My response? "There really is no difference. In all honesty, the older people of the church want the same thing that the youth want. I just don't have to deal with their parents."
As people grow older, their priorities may change, but the need to be accepted and to be loved remain important. For people who are seeking to join in the covenant of marriage I always try to get them to think about their relationship in the terms of "mind, body, and soul."
My great grandparents were married for well over seventy years. They grew up in the same community, knew one another their entire lives, lived through the depression, watched three sons and a son-in-law go off to war and return, lived long enough to watch their oldest son die an old man, and managed to hold hands for as long as they could. Of course later in life they held hands to hold one another up, and often, you would see my great grandfather carrying my grandmother's purse in his other hand.
"Mind, body and soul."
As we grow old our needs change. At some point intimacy changes, but takes on new meaning.
Our minds continue to learn, and finding someone who will not only challenge, but continue to pursue new conversations and interests will continue to build for a broader relationship.
Of course our soul manifests itself in ways that moves beyond both mind and body, and can be the bearer of all things, when faith is all that seems to be left.
The very first couple I ever married was the union of a Jewish woman to a United Methodist man. They were a young professional couple that had dated for a long period of time. I can still hear the bride's father telling me, "Now, none of that 'Jesus stuff' during the wedding."
As part of their homework one week I made them complete a calendar of holidays, and how they would honor their traditions, and that they had to show it to their families and discuss how they would spend them. I think maybe this assignment may have been the reason why the bride's father was so vocal with me.
They were very much in love, were always within arms reach with one another, and their faith was very important, while their professions had challenged their minds to have deep discussions. I felt like they had a good chance of making it.
Yes, it's true, clergy consider many things before asking couples to say, "I do."
I have told folks "No," as well.
I have met couples who have only had one area in common. People change. Having only one area in common doesn't give the couple anything to "fall back onto" if there are problems.
I guess the same can be shared in our relationship with God. Realizing that we are in relationship with God, mind, body and soul, helps us to recognize the importance of that relationship.
Having been created by God, to do God's will, invites us into a relationship that will carry us through all eternity. God created everything about us, and only wants to know us more.
Discovering that person who can touch us "mind, body, and soul' is what we all long for. That is what we all seem to long for. Relationships are a choice. Seeking to love God, "Mind, Body and Soul" is a choice as well.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.