Until death do us part

Gary F. Ehman
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Sitting here in the midst of the Tucson, Arizona aftermath, and the near-frantic journalistic analysis of every political aspect of this tragedy of human suffering, it is getting difficult to remember just what did happen. The shouts of accusations of what really caused it, for the most part, have diminished the incredible acts of bravery that took place, as human beings reached out to help human beings, regardless of their own lives.

There were heroes aplenty that day; men and women placing themselves in harm's way to protect, to subdue and to provide support and assistance.

One hero, for the most part, remains unsung, mainly because he has not been interviewed by all the news organizations. Very little can be milked, emotionally, out of his act of bravely, because this hero gave up his life to become one. Okay, next story: "Oh yes, tell us, what were you thinking when you ran toward the sounds of the shots?"

Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a husband—when the shooting started—dove to the ground, covering his wife of 16 years, who was shot in the leg three times. Thumbnail accounts of the victims of this senseless carnage list that the couple had been grade-school sweethearts growing up in Tucson. He died of a single bullet wound to his head.

Dorwin Stoddard's act must seem to be an incongruity to those who subscribe to the approaches of our modern male/female relationships. Marriage? How quaint. Do you really do that anymore? Apparently no, in face of the growing trend of cohabitation and a divorce rate that destroys about half of the marriages that do take place.

We have all witnessed a love story of incredible magnitude. But it has been drowned out in shouts, recriminations and accusations of blame-placing for political advantage. Shame on the pundits. Shame on the political hacks. Shame on advocacy journalists.

A 76-year-old man died in the arms of his wife, the woman he shielded from bullets sprayed by a madman. A woman with three bullet wounds to her leg, held in her arms the dying man who saved her life. It brings instantly to mind the statement of a young man 2000 years ago who said: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Tomorrow's World Editor, Roderick C. Meredith, speaks to this issue in his booklet God's Plan for Happy Marriage:

After a lifetime of giving and serving, at the end of His human life, Jesus Christ gave Himself for the Church. So all husbands are instructed: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:25–28).

Normally, each of us just naturally thinks about his own needs. We take care of our own desires. We cater to what pleases us. But since God has made us "one flesh" in marriage, we need to learn to think that way—to constantly consider the needs and desires of our mate and how to take care of our "other half"! This involves thinking and planning and self-discipline. It involves the giving of oneself to another human being. And that is what marriage is all about!

Dorwin Stoddard demonstrated to us what "giving of oneself" is all about. It was not all about him; it was about what he felt was the most important thing in his life—his wife—and he took care of his "other half."

Please. Read the rest of our booklet God's Plan for Happy Marriage. You may gain some understanding that will help you reevaluate your thoughts on love and marriage.