To My Dear and Loving Husband | 3rd Anniversary Edition11:48 AM
Today is August 6th, 2014. Three years ago on this day, I made a covenant. I offered sacred, spoken vows. I made promises to love this man more than any other, to stand by him always, ‘til death do us part.
I do not wonder anymore why God established marriage before any other relationship. The progression of creation in Genesis went something like this: land, earth, animals, man… and woman. No crowds, no churches, no spiritual leadership, no mission… just marriage. It all makes sense to me now. God knew what we sometimes forget – that marriage IS how one lives out their Christianity. Marriage can be the fleshing-out of salvation, the obedience to God in action, the love that He gives in abundance --- from a husband to a wife, from a wife to a husband. People like to super-spiritualize things, when in this case, the most practical thing is the most spiritual. Marital love – marital loyalty – marital sacrifice – marital commitment – it is all God’s simple way of letting us live out unselfishness.
I understand the importance, the necessity, the incredible blessing of a man and a woman leaving all others and cleaving to each other. I grasp the multiplication of power – of influence – of good that comes from having that one person always in your corner, always loyal, always encouraging, always holding you up.
I comprehend the sacredness of vows – these marital vows that transcend all other earthly bonds, all other spoken promises. I understand that on a hot August day, when I stood before witnesses, I was renouncing loyalty to every other person on the planet – that I made a choice, a rock-solid unshakeable choice, to throw myself whole-heartedly into the life of another. That no person, no organization, no church, no pastor, no family member, nothing shall ever have the right to stand between my husband and I. That friends may become enemies, and time may be a thief, that busy-ness threatens our relationship, and jobs and careers and responsibilities will attempt to come between us, but without fail – my loyalty is always to him. I know that love must be brutal in its stand against its detractors – that love must be tough – that love is the weapon in a world that desires division. True love, true committed marital love, is fierce in its defense of itself. Love is ultimate loyalty, because that’s what marriage means.
And that’s why we take marriage seriously. We hold to each other completely. And yet… we rejoice in marriage utterly. I cannot even begin to describe the bliss of the last three years of our life together. And don’t get me wrong – our lives are not without difficulty. There are seasons of turmoil, trouble, hardships, hurt, darkness, struggle… and yet, through it all, there is this beautiful marriage. We are building a life together – through the framework of our simple loyalty to Christ and loyalty to each other. We are becoming better, happier, holier, healthier, more loving, more giving, more mature versions of ourselves. That is the glory of marriage.
Perhaps it is not necessarily the institution of marriage that is so wonderful --- but the person to whom one is married to. God did an amazing thing when He orchestrated our love story. I cannot imagine being married to another. While I won’t go on and on about all the exceptional attributes of my husband (I prefer to tell those to him directly), I will say that in one specific instance just a month or so before we started dating, I remember praying through Psalms 1 for him, and in particular, this verse:
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3
God has answered that prayer, and my husband is truly the best person I know.
So on this day, I’ll turn to the words of a better poet than myself.
To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.