Couples Devotional: No Regrets

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. –2 Timothy 4:7 NLT

Thomas Carlyle, a great British author in the nineteenth century, was already well established in his career when he married another writer, Jane Welsh. Obsessed with his writing, though, he took little time to nurture their relationship. Even when Jane became very ill, Carlyle wasn’t there for his wife.

After Jane died, Carlyle sat in her bedroom, regretting how little time he had spent with her because of all the other “important” things he was doing. It was then that he noticed her diary sitting on the bedside stand. One page simply read: Yesterday he spent an hour with me and it was like heaven. I love him so.” He turned another page. “I listened all day to hear his footsteps in the hall, but now it is too late and I guess he won’t come today.”

Carlyle continued to read until he was overcome with emotion. He threw the diary down and ran out of the house. His friends found the grieving man at Jane’s graveside with his face buried in the ground and tears rolling down his cheeks. He just kept saying over and over, “If only I had known, if only I had known, but it’s too late now.” Fifteen years later he died with a mountain of regret.

Sometimes we allow confused priorities to get in the way of our most important relationships. It’s important for a marriage to get off to a good start, but we want our marriages to finish well too. We’re sure you want this too. Make your marriage the priority it is meant to be.

• What part of this story can you relate to?
• What could you or I do to live with fewer regrets in our relationship?
• At the end of your life, what would you like to be said about you?

Look at the Scripture of the day and write out a paragraph of what you would hope could be said about your marriage at the end of your life.

(Excerpted from Closer: 52 Devotionals to Draw Couples Together by Jim and Cathy Burns; Bethany House, 2009.)

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Jim and Cathy Burns

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Some of his recent books include: Finding Joy in the Empty Nest; Doing Life with Your Adult Children, and Have Serious Fun. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California. Cathy Burns is the co-author of Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together. Along with being a mom, wife and Bible study leader, she recently retired from her job as a teacher in a school for “kids who learn differently” in order to help care for her three grandchildren. Cathy and Jim met the first day in college and married one week after she graduated.

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