By Pastor Robert Sponable Lake Community Bible Church February 14 is Valentine\u2019s Day, that special day for sweethearts. For the last few years, my wife, Nancy, and I have been in Florida with friends during February. That\u2019s been good for several reasons: warm weather, great times with old friends, Super Bowl Sunday and affording my friends and I the opportunity to remind each other to get something for our sweethearts for Valentine\u2019s Day. One year, one of those friends and I remembered at the last minute and stopped at a gas station two blocks from home and bought really cool (we thought so) wooden red roses for our wives from a guy selling them out of the trunk of his car. Nancy (my valentine), and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary in October this past year. Wow, 50 years! I\u2019ve known couples who\u2019ve celebrated more than 60 years together, and I think that is great, but 50 years is still pretty special in this day and age. When I shared that information a few days ago with a man, he asked, "what\u2019s the secret to your\u00a0 long marriage?" Since he seemed sincere, I gave the following explanation. I told him God was the third party in our marriage. In Ecclesiastes 4:12 we read "\u2026a cord of\u00a0 three strands is not quickly torn apart." When Nancy and I determined that we were God\u2019s choice for each other and believed that we could serve God more effectively as a team rather than remaining single, we chose to obey Him, and marry. We were like the majority of newlyweds: na\u00efve\u2019, broke, undisciplined, filled with unrealistic expectations, selfish, but "in love." In spite of all our shortcomings and inconsistencies, we each had a strong abiding conviction that our marriage was God\u2019s will, that He was present in our lives, and that,\u00a0 as long as we were faithful to our commitment and marriage covenant, and surrendered to Him,\u00a0 He, as the third strand, would hold us together. We also came to realize a very important Biblical principle. I discovered it while studying some\u00a0 pre-marital counselling material (I\u2019ve forgotten the author). The principle is: "a good marriage makes for love," rather than the popular idea that "love makes for a good marriage." Let me explain: 99.9 percent of all couples enter marriage "loving" each other. But something\u00a0 happens after a few years, or in some marriages even a few months. One, or both of them, come to me or a counselor and say "I\/we don\u2019t \u2018love\u2019 each other anymore. What happened?" They lost those loving feelings, and so the marriage is no longer secure\u037e it isn\u2019t a "good\u00a0 marriage."\u00a0\u00a0 I discovered when Nancy and I were committed to a "good marriage" (i.e. doing it God\u2019s way, since He is the inventor of the family (Genesis 2:18\u00ad24), our love began to grow again. God\u2019s blueprint for a "good marriage" is found in His instruction book, the Bible (Ephesians\u00a0 5:22-\u00ad33\u037e Colossians 18\u00ad4:1\u037e I Corinthians 11:2\u00ad3\u037e I Peter 3:1\u00ad7).\u00a0 There we discover how to be a\u00a0 good husband and father, wife and mother, and children.\u00a0 It is in this "good marriage" environment that love is nurtured and can grow and mature to the potential God has for each of us. Thus, indeed, "a good marriage" (doing it God\u2019s way, obedience to His Word), makes for love. This instruction is for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (John 1:12\u037e 3:16\u037e Romans 3:23\u037e 6:23\u037e 5:8\u037e 10:13\u037e I John 5:11\u00ad13), experienced the saving Grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), and are filled, or controlled by God the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18),\u00a0 enabling them to have the desire and power to obey God. I\u2019ve experienced it firsthand in our marriage. It\u2019s obvious I haven\u2019t perfected it, as was\u00a0 evidenced by the anniversary cards we received "congratulating" me and offering their\u00a0 "condolences" to Nancy, but the love we now share is so much better than what we had when\u00a0 we were first married! ... oh, and a word to you men, don\u2019t get your "valentine" wooden roses.