Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past – Robert L. Plummer


A few years ago, in doing genealogical research, I acquired a copy of a single handwritten page by my great-great grandfather’s brother, Rev. James Ransom Plummer, Jr. (a Methodist minister), on the eve of his wedding to Sarah Ann Elizabeth Ford.   The page reads:

The evening before marriage, May 8th 1851

The last night of my single life has come.  Oh, with what intense interest have I looked forward to this hour! And, while many . . . very many . . . would spend this night in wild revelry and frantic glee, be it mine in sweet tranquility to hold communion with the Great and Good Being above, who has crowned my life with the highest of earthly bliss. And here would I record, in truthful words, the wondrous  kindness of our Heavenly Father, He, in whose hands are the issues of life, has granted me the affections of an earthly angel, and already virtually committed to my charge, under him, this gentle being, to protect and cherish through life’s rough way. She is all I would have her to be, pure as the snow that lies unthawed upon Everest’s towering summit, beautiful as the opening bloom radiant with the first kiss of summer sun and glittering with the dew drops of morning, gentle as a fondling lamb, with a mind free and untrammeled, capable of deep thoughts and investigation, pious like one who loves God and aspires to a home where angels sing and the redeemed live. Oh, how shall I be grateful enough for this loved one? And while I feel deeply the responsibility of this precious commitment, I humbly implore of him, who all my life long has been unremitting in his kindness, that he would vouchsafe unto me wisdom and grace, that she who has plighted her faith in truthful confidence to me, may be loved and cherished through life and that together we may live, in the home of the saved, in companionship in the skies.

Written by Jas. R. Plummer the evening before he married S.A.E. Ford

Mother and Father of Martha Louetta Plummer (Mrs. B. F. Haynes)

When I consider Rev. Plummer’s tenderness towards his wife and his joyful commitment to purity, that legacy propels me to treat my wife with gentle and unwavering love.

Being drawn to the example of my ancestor reminded me of a newspaper article I read a few years ago.  According to the article, sociological research indicates that it is beneficial for children to know their parents’ and grandparents’ stories of hardship.  Somehow these familial stories strengthen young travelers for the trials they face in their own life journeys.

In doing research for Held in Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past, my co-author Matt Haste and I read through scores of marital reflections from Ignatius of Antioch (1st century) to Elisabeth Elliot (20th century). I found myself embracing anew the truths about the challenges, joys, and God-ordained purposes of marriage from these spiritual fathers and mothers in the faith. They loved unto death, and I can do the same. They persevered through trial, and I can do the same.  They rejoiced in tenderness over their beloved, and I can do the same.  For the glory of God, empowered by his Spirit, they held marriage in honor, recognizing it as a holy institution that points to the greater reality of Christ’s love for the church. I can do the same.  And, you can too.

About The Author:

Robert L. Plummer is professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky and serves as an elder at Sojourn Community Church. Find out a bit more about the man ‘Behind the Bowtie’!


Where to Buy:
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