***(Please excuse the lack of paragraphs. WordPress is bunching them all up together for some reason….)***
I wake up while stars are still in the sky. I groggily slip out from under the covers. I know that he is already awake and has been for quite some time. He has been working while the girls and I still slept. I walk to the kitchen and all I have to do is pour the coffee into my favorite morning mug. He’s already had a cup or two. Suddenly, I feel a little spoiled, but my heart bows in wonder. You see, when you marry your highschool sweetheart, you have the sometimes frustrating, but always honor-infused privilege of watching your spouse grow up before your very eyes. You grow up together, really. No matter what the age of your first introduction, husband and wife are witnesses to one another. Discipline is only one of the ways I’ve watched my husband grow over the years. I learn from my brown-eyed boy, become man. The one who says that I was taller than he was when we first met. I was 13. I don’t remember that…..
Even before we were married, our relationship had a lot of ups and downs. Some of the more difficult aspects of our relationship came from outside of us, but some were just . . . us. We were young. We were and are two different people.
Because in a marriage there is always one.
And always two.
The constant melding of two hearts, two lives, two distinct people with their own needs, dreams, desires, trying to become one. This is hard, life-long work. This unity does not automatically occur at the moment you vow your lives to one another. It doesn’t spontaneously happen simply because you make love to one another. It is in the continual melting of the metals of our cores – leaving the dross, leaving the safe and known – that we become something more pure and unwavering.
How I long to live this.
Late in the night, before his early morning work and before the coffee, I cuddle close and think on marriage vows. And I remember….
In the times of the worse, the poorer, and the sickness, these are the times for which we made our vows. These are the times our words put on our flesh and His Life is breathed. Our vows were made . . . for this.
So, in the Better . . . give us grace to revel in love – love with abandon. Let us remember our past, rejoice in our present, and look toward the future with hope.
In the Worse . . . let us cling to one another, standing strong in the midst of life’s complexities. Save us from our own selfishness. Use the Worse to make us Better, that we may step out from marriage’s dark nights, more brilliant . . . more loving.
In the Richer . . . give us generous hands and hearts. Let us be wise with your gifts and thankful for your Provision. Let us also be poor in spirit, poor of selfish-wants, poor of desiring things that are not of You.
In the Poorer . . . let us be rich in love. Rich in joy and affirmation and affection. Love does not feed the hungry tummy, but it feeds the soul. It feeds the foundation of a marriage . . . a family.
In the Sickness . . . let us nurture and care for one another in our weakness. Be our True Healing – healing in the places we don’t even know are sick. Let us be joyful, for joyful hearts are good medicine.
In the Health . . . give us fallen-to-the-knees gratitude. Let us not take a day for granted, but let us tuck away every moment of catching up on each other’s days, every kiss, every wink, every finger, every crook-of-the-arm cuddle, every hand holding, every walk through the door after a hard day’s work.
In the Love and Cherish . . . let us love as You love. Let us be a channel straight from Your heart to the heart of the one we love. Your kind of love is the only love that withstands time and nourishes truly.
And in Death . . . let there be no regrets. Let us have lived lives full of a million “I Love You’s” in word and deed. You bring Life in Death . . . let our marriage speak when we no longer can….
Then there are the times of the in-between . . . neither better, nor worse – the times we just are. These are the times that feel most safe, but are in actuality, more suffocating. Give us strength to push past our apathy. Let us not be content with mere side-by-side, lukewarm living. Give us emboldened assertion to pursue each other and know each other. You are our Life.
You are our Life.
With our bodies, we Thee worship.