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In a quirky corner of the house, in a box tucked away, I came across a strip of paper. Dot matrix printing. Penned in names. Folded in half. A printing of our marriage vows.
It reads “I, Mary, before our family and friends take you Patrick to be my wedded husband. And I promise and covenant before God to love honor and cherish you, to be faithful to you, and to encourage you in Christ in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live, or until Jesus comes.”
A covenant is a sacred promise, not to be taken likely. The God we serve is a God of covenants. He is a promise-keeping God, holding up His end in every possible way. And yet, we’re weak. Thank God for His Son Jesus who bore the weight of our sin-weakness.
I wish I could say I’ve always cherished, always stayed steady during bouts of sickness, or held up my husband in prayer when sorrow accosted us both. I haven’t. But I have remained by his side, remembering these vows, clinging to the God who gives me the power to keep them.
We live in a throwaway society. We say words. We even mean them way down deep. But deeper still is an escape clause. A get out of marriage free card. Something we can fall back on when times get tough, unbearable, impossible.
We gross out the kids when we kiss in the kitchen. We prefer each other over other company. We connect daily. We defend each other. We cheer. We hope. We dream together.
After twenty-three years of marriage, through ups and downs reminiscent of high mountain peaks and the lowest scrublands, we keep our vows. It’s not glamorous. No one applauds. It’s the tenacity we give each other and the hearts of our children.
We stay for Jesus. We stay for us. We stay for the kids.
There’s a settled joy in staying. In enduring. In choosing the other. In selflessness. Today I vow all over again to cherish the marriage and husband God brought my way.
Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.