Today we’re just one month shy of 1000 days from our last big family event and three days ago marked a mere 100 days until our next. This pledging to a spouse is the most beautiful of family celebrations. It ranks right up there with bringing babies into the world, and grandbabies too, or so I’ve heard. You, our children, have chosen well. And this is my prayer for your marriage …
That Christ will always be the foundation of your marriage. Learning what that looks like in the day-to-day is much more complicated than tossing around a stale cliche. He needs to always be your first love and each other second. Focus on loving Him with all of your being and the rest will begin to fall into place. Not that it will always be a bed of roses, but His presence at the center makes all the difference.
That your love for one another will never lose its luster. Yes, there will be days and seasons that bring grit and even grime in your togetherness, but my prayer is for a deep refining to come from those days and seasons. Just as the purest gold, when well cared for never loses its luster.
That you will always see the strengths that drew you to one another, instead of focusing on the weaknesses that seem to accompany those strengths in every single one of us. And may you choose to encourage one another in both those strengths and the weaknesses.
That you fully commit to the oh-so-common vows that so many of us repeat on our wedding day. Dad and I have jokingly come to saying “for better or for words” as opposed to the traditional “for better or for worse”. Invariably, one of you will have entirely too many words and the other will not have near enough, I’m quite sure you know which is which in our home. We’ve wasted too much time allowing that to become a source of contention instead of a point of growth in learning how to truly communicate and listen to one another. That is changing and growing with each new day.
And speaking of change and growth … don’t ever stop growing. Don’t ever lose sight of this pursuit of oneness, for in taking it for granted much can be so easily lost. Tend to it daily in the smallest and grandest of ways, being sure that you are each confident of the other’s love and commitment to your together.
That you will always, always, always see each other as the second greatest gifts God has ever given you on this journey. Receive your gift daily and treasure them for the gift they are and for the Giver’s entrusting you with the heart of another. And might I add, Dad was adamant as we spoke years ago of our own upcoming marriage that we would never even joke about the idea of returning or exchanging this precious gift. I couldn’t have agreed more and it’s a bit of wisdom we’ve held to all these years.
That you always remember this marriage thing is not about living happily ever after. It’s not that God wants you to be unhappy, it’s just that He’s much more concerned about your holiness than your happiness. And if you ever had any doubt, this friction of such intense relationship is the best classroom for the practicing of holiness.
Finally, or maybe first, learn and use these three sentences freely – “I’m sorry.” and “Please forgive me?” and “I love you!” Whether we see it clearly or not, there’s always room to honestly acknowledge the hurt that another feels. It’s in truly listening to each other that the foundation is laid for sorting through the details and setting things right again.
Oh, and another thing, though you don’t seem to need to be reminded of this at all. Laugh together. Every day. Better yet, make that laughter deep belly laughs as often as possible. And while you’re at it, learn to laugh at your own mistakes individually and as a couple. For in the years to come, as you add little ones to your own families, laughter will be the fresh breath that the whole lot of you will need.
There’s much more to share, but not today. I simply can’t. You see, we’re only 25 years into this adventure ourselves and we’ve so very much to learn. So many rough days followed by redo days and great days ahead that we can’t begin to imagine all that’s left to learn. But rest assured that in the meantime, we’re praying for you. Praying for the things we know to pray, and continuing our own study of one another, of marriage and of encouraging each of you.
We love you.
We’re proud of you.
We’re praying for you.
We’ll never stop.
All Photos courtesy of the following photographers, both of whom we highly recommend