June 2, 2013

They Have No Idea: a Reflection on Marriage

Yesterday I had the privilege and joy of not only attending a wedding to witness the exchange of vows, but  of standing next to the Bride as her Matron of Honor as she and her Groom made vows to one another that none of us can keep.

The pastor talked about that.  He reminded us that without the Lord at work in our hearts, we can't get into the deepness of the marriage relationship.  It is in the middle of needing to live out real love (patience, kindness, forgiveness, not keeping a record of wrongs, etc.) that we grow as individuals and as a couple in marriage.  Those day-to-day hiccups that come with one sinner living with another sinner as husband and wife are what build up into a strong relationship, though not without work, prayer, and commitment.

The commitment comes with the covenant.  I love that the church talks about marriage as a covenant.  We make promises to one another and they are binding.  And the promises we make are not dependent on what the other person is doing, how we're feeling, or what circumstances we're in.  Husband and wife need to keep looking back to that day when a gorgeous bride and a handsome groom said "I promise" to one another in the presence of God and many witnesses: ... in plenty and want, sickness and health, as long as we both shall live.


The day you get married, you have no idea how hard it's going to be.  You might know you're proud or stubborn.  A few years of marriage will reveal to you a depth of pride and stubbornness you never thought possible from such a nice person as yourself.  It's ugly.

The day you get married, you also have no idea how wonderful it's going to be.  You might know it will be fantastic to no longer have to say 'good night' after a date and go your separate ways.  A few years of marriage will reveal what a joy and blessing it is to slip into bed every night with your best friend and forever confidant.  It's good.

The ugly and the good are both part of the package.  Then there's trials that come that are beyond your control.  They test the strength of your bond and your faith in the Lord to sustain and provide.

As I sat at the end of the rehearsal on Friday evening, I received an email update from some friends who are missionaries with World Harvest Mission in Uganda.  At the moment they are home for a while, because when they came home in December for five months in the states before returning to Africa, they found out  (by the providence of God) that Travis has colon cancer.  Now, rather than being able to attend missions conferences and return to duty, they visit doctors and endure chemo treatments.  It is remarkable to see how their bond as husband and wife and their love for the Lord is sustaining them.  They don't pretend anything is easy, but they trust the Lord and are faithful to their commitment one another as much in sickness as they had been in health.

Weddings are so much fun.  I love them.  The time for celebration is right and good!!  We had a delightful party last night after the ceremony.  But with a decade of marriage under my belt, I know that the best is yet to come for my friends.  They have no idea.  And that's just the way it's supposed to be.  I'm so, so thrilled for them to know that the Lord will sustain them and enable them to uphold their vows and that each day, week, month, and year they have together as husband and wife will grow an intimacy that they've never known before, giving them a little peek into how Christ loves His church.  I'm so happy for my friends and look forward to watching the Lord unfold their story before them!


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