The wedding

The couple is young, but there is a depth in them not often seen in their age group.

I met her through a mutual grief. Death often draws people together. I shared my own devastation at my mother’s death when I was in my thirties. She was in her twenties when it happened to her.

We had breakfasts and lunches and did lots of talking, as women do, in between bites of food and tear drops. We came to call each other friend.

I had the privilege of being part of her wedding through my gift of music.

rings

I’ve sat on many a piano and organ bench during my musical life, watching from the sidelines as a couple promises with all their hearts to keep the vows spoken. I believe they mean those words at the moment. Too often I have seen those words fall and shatter into tiny pieces as troubles and trials and all manner of life situations bombard the two who were meant to be one.

It happens and I cast no stones, because I live in a delicate glass house that at one time almost fragmented into a million pieces.

My young friend’s wedding was a sacred event. From the songs chosen to the intentional sharing of a new family Bible, the service was planned with care and with the desires of a husband and wife who want to be all God has planned for them.

I look forward to watching this young couple grow in love and acceptance of each other. And I anticipate seeing them be vessels of God as He points them in His direction and fills them with Himself.

Their lives at this moment are a beautiful thing to behold.

But lest we see things with only rose-colored glasses, there will be challenges. They will feel like they have hit a wall sometimes. They will not always experience the euphoria of “being madly in love” as they did on that special wedding day.

Such is the way of a man and a woman joined together in holy matrimony. What draws one to the other is a mystery of sorts, but what keeps them together is grace. God’s tender mercies and everlasting love do what is not humanly possible.

He designs for iron to sharpen iron and never were there so many sparks as in a marriage. We learn to be patient with one another’s idiosyncrasies and personality bents. We adjust our standards of orderliness and punctuality, of being the life of the party and the need for alone time.

We learn to speak the truth in love, to ask to be forgiven and to forgive in return. We decide to pick our battles and then fight the good fight, not tearing at the heart of the one we are called to love but attacking the problem.

And we are called to love. Love is that action word that keeps demanding much of us when the cozy, fuzzy sensations wane and the “I just don’t love him anymore”  non-affection surfaces.

That is not the time to give up and give in. No.  NO.  NO!  Do. Not. Give. Up. 

Studies show if couples will stick it out when the marriage looks lost, the feelings can and often do return. Ask those who have celebrated those 30, 40, 50 plus years of marriage if they are glad they didn’t throw in the towel when the towel was dirty and smelly and full of holes.

I for one will say, “Yes, I’m glad we did not give up.”

God uses a spouse to make us better in so many ways. I could list them, but let your own ideas develop in your mind. The rough edges of who we are rub like sandpaper until those places begin to smooth out little by little. It’s irritating to say the least and often painful in the truest sense.

I’ve not really liked the process, but I am thankful for the results.

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Sweet William and I celebrate 45 years of marriage today. They have been hard-fought and grace-filled years. There have been joyous and gut-wrenching seasons. We’ve been healthy, strong, able to take on the world together. We’ve been sick, weak, desperate for relief. We have laughed together and cried together. We have questioned and wondered and grieved together. We have rejoiced at births and wept at gravesides together. We have attended church, Bible studies, and counseling together. We have built strong walls and torn down barriers together. We have climbed tall mountains that looked impossible and walked through valleys of lush green and still waters together.

We have prayed together.

The key word here is “together.” We are still together. Thanks be to God for His amazing grace and His gift of enduring love. I’m so glad He did not give up on us when we would have given up except for His mercies.

We are together until death shall part us.

Steven Curtis Chapman sings it for us and for you who are still together.

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