"I take you to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow." (traditional Christian wedding vows)
The day I said these vows I meant them. The beauty of them tearfully spoken. A promise. A commitment. The day couldn't have been more perfect. I was marrying the man I had dated for over five years. We were excited and ready for this new chapter.
Intimacy did not come easy. Years of "don't do it" and "wait until marriage" suddenly changing to "it's okay, you're married". I was obviously thinking about it completely wrong. There wasn't a lot I knew about being someone's wife. My only examples my parents and other married adults I had known throughout my life. Some good examples, I suppose, but we are all just doing the best that we can after all. I felt ill-prepared still torn between the life and family of my youth and this new life I was beginning with the love of my life. "Leave and cleave" was much harder then I had ever expected.
He was patient some of the time, but there was often conflict. I guess I never realized how insecure I felt with him. There was always something sort of off with us and it didn't take long for things to start falling apart. What I realize now, is there were secrets eating away inside of him at that time. His heart wanted a "happily ever after" with me, but sexual immorality was stealing away those dreams. If you have visited this blog before, you already know the details (or can easily read them for yourself).
God works in the midst of the junk. He knew what was going on, but He also knew where He was taking us. We weren't necessarily walking strongly with the Lord back then. We were Christians meaning we believed in Jesus and we occasionally attended church. I knew He was around somewhere and although I don't remember asking Him for help, I know now that He was certainly helping whether I had asked Him or not.
The strength of my faith today I can humbly thank God for. It was because of the yuck we were forced to deal with that God became the focus and foundation of our marriage, a place He should have been at the beginning, but we didn't know any better. It is often a difficult journey this thing called marriage. With the everyday stresses, young children, work, school there is so much to contend with. Finding our way back to each other and changing our priorities and shifting our focus onto Him was easy and challenging at the same time. The challenge lies in changing the way we think and act in our marriage; having courage to seek wise counsel and see our hearts as they really are, broken and helpless. Condemned to a life of struggle if it weren't for God sending Jesus to redeem us and save us from this brokenness.
Saved from brokenness...it doesn't mean we don't still feel broken sometimes. It doesn't mean that we don't struggle anymore. It IS a life of hope, that we can weather any storms and He will be with us in the midst of them.
And all of this just brings me back to those vows. Whether said in earnest or under a shroud of secrets, it doesn't matter because God brings man and wife together and we CHOOSE whether to stay that way or not. If it's for better or worse it might mean staying and working through your biggest nightmare, but God will meet you there.
"I take you to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow."
This is what living and walking with him and Him looks like.
1. This Is My Solemn Vow