Today I am thankful for my husband Terry. As the old country song goes, “you never gave up on me, when I was giving love up on you.” We could sing that song to each other, if I could carry a tune in a bucket, but the words ring true. There were times when giving up would have been simpler that hanging together, but then we would become just another statistic, planning separate Christmases, and such with our children.
Today I am thankful for marriage and believe it to be a sacrament, a covenant, a union created by God for man and woman to enjoy each other, to share in the joys and sorrows of life. It is the basis of the family unit. It is an earthly manifestation of a heavenly union between Christ and His Church.
At least that is how it is supposed to be. Is that even possible? Yes and No…don’t you love ambiguity. I have been married once and there have been good times and bad. In traditional wedding vows, you have that better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health exchange. Know what I think?? Most people saying those words are thinking, better, richer and healthy, when they should be preparing to love the other the most when, worse, poorer, and sickly.
Over the years I have attended hundreds of weddings, including my own elopement and vows with my husband of 49 years, Terry. In fact over the past 22 years I have sat and listened to the vows of couples, who looked into each other’s eyes and pledged to love each other forever, while my husband officiated. At none of these weddings did I think “this couple isn’t going to make it.” In fact, like most in attendance I was swept up in the moment, believing nothing could separate them and in the moment renewing my own vows, re-pledging my allegiance, love, and support to my man.
Alas, many have separated and divorced, including our oldest child and his first wife a woman he had known since childhood. No matter what people say about amicable divorces, the process and the outcome are wrenching, even more so when young children are involved. And lest anyone get the idea that only the immediate family, husband, wife, children suffer the agony, as a parent whose child has divorced, no children involved, I beg to differ. The picture offered in Yourdictionary.com of the word “asunder” is of a sledge hammer hitting a watermelon scattering bits and pieces that destroy the whole completely. Even divorces with clear Biblical backing, where non-believer and believer part, or unfaithfulness enters the picture, or one or the other partner is an abuser, even when no one doubts it is unavoidable, even then the shattered union splashes on family, friends, and co-workers.
In the wedding service Terry most often uses couples use vows that come from the book of Ruth. Words Ruth spoke to her mother-in-law, Naomi and not to her husband, but I personally think that sets the perfect tone for marriage vows. A couple unites to become one flesh, but they bring two families together also.
“I will never urge you to leave me or to turn away from following after me. Where you go, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people and your God, my God.”
These vows are my pledge to my husband. A few years back we purchased each other wedding rings with a portion of that scripture engraved in Hebrew, a visible reminder of the wonder of being One Flesh and a constant renewal of our commitment to each other and to The Lord.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 NASB)
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10:4-9 NASB)