Daily Readings, J.C. Ryle
There is a lesson in this passage for all married people in the conduct of Joseph and Mary. We are told that they regularly honoured God's appointed ordinances and that they honoured them together (v.41). The distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem was great. The journey, to poor people without any means of conveyance, was troublesome and fatiguing. To leave house and home for ten days or a fortnight was no slight expense. But God had given Israel a command and Joseph and Mary strictly obeyed it. And all that they did concerning the Passover they did together. When they went up to the feast they always went side by side.
So ought it to be with all Christian husbands and wives. They ought to help one another in spiritual things and to encourage one another in the service of God. Marriage, unquestionably, is not a sacrament, as the Roman church vainly asserts. But marriage is a state of life which has the greatest effect on the souls of those who enter it. It helps them upwards or downwards. It leads them nearer to heaven or nearer to hell. We all depend much on the company we keep. Our characters are insensibly moulded by those with whom we pass our time. To none does this apply so much as to married people. Husbands and wives are continually doing good or harm to one another's souls.
Let all who are married, or think of being married, ponder these things well. Let them take example from the conduct of Mary and Joseph, and resolve to do likewise. Let them pray together, and read the Bible together, go to the house of God together and talk to one another about spiritual matters. Above all, let them beware of throwing obstacles and discouragements in one another's way about the means of grace. Blessed are those who say to their partners as Leah and Rachel did to Jacob in Genesis 31:16.