Esau knew what he wanted, immediate gratification. He had just been out hunting and was starving according to Genesis. Jacob uses Esau's situation to earn something far greater than stew, the birthright. The first born son was the son that inherited everything from the father. Esau was the first born but was willing to give that up for a bowl of stew.
Even more astounding than what Esau receives in exchange for the birth right is how easily he gave it up. Jacob simply asks and Esau hands over all the rights and privileges that come with being the first born. It didn't seem to matter at the time because all Esau wanted was satisfaction in the moment.
Taking the long approach is essential in marriage. The temptation is always present to give up something now so we can have immediate reward. We have to work hard to remember that we are engaged in something that is a lifetime long and that means we will have to delay satisfaction sometimes.
Author and radio host Dave Ramsey has a saying that fits here, "Live like no one else now so that we can live like no one else later." Through the early years of our marriage we have made choices about our time and money that have meant the delay of satisfaction. There were vacations we decided not to take. There have been purchases we have delayed or not made at all. We made the decision for Sarah to say home with our children until they began school, this meant the short-term delay for long-term gain.
In order to cultivate a strong marriage we must resist the temptation that Esau could not. We must not exchange the future God has in store for us so that we can have temporary satisfaction today. The stew that Esau exchanged his future was only going to satisfy for a moment, later in the day he would be hungry again. We hope and pray that others will join us in choosing to live marriage with the long haul in view, and not forfeit the future for something temporary.