Mrs. Katherine Nicole Wilson - lace from my wedding dress sewn into the hem of hers
I have struggled with what to write to you about marriage. As I look around, I see the struggles that marriage brings to so many families and so many don’t cross the line of “ til death due we part.” There isn’t any judgment toward those who don’t keep their vows for a lifetime...life can really be hard. However, I do look to those who have been through many, many of life’s struggles and continued their journey in marriage. For me, this heritage is mine through my grandparents, Bill’s parents, my sister-in-law and my own parents. Each could write books of the struggles their marriages have walked through and, at times, crawled through. As Deanie once said, “you just didn’t leave each other in my day. Even if it got hard, you stayed.” There is something so simple about that and yet so true.
As we approach Christmas, I think of Joseph and Mary. Their journey of marriage couldn’t have been easy from the beginning. Joseph had to hear the word of God himself and he had to be obedient...taking his wife and newborn child away from danger. Through all the years, they heard the voices of people who had to have believed that Jesus was a child from another man that Mary had had relationships with before marriage. Their union couldn’t have been easy...and they were human just like all of us.
So my words of advice....you are in this for the long haul. There will be seasons of complete excitement in which you feel your feet never touch the floor. There will be seasons of complete struggle that only leaning on the Lord will keep you together. There will be seasons that you really like each other and seasons that you will not like each other. Each season is a time in which the Lord takes two people and molds them into one. Any two different materials molded into one only happens through some form of heat or pressure... or both. Your wedding bands were produced through heat and pressure. The scratches and worn places on your rings through the years will testify to the process God is doing in both of your lives, as He molds you into one.
I look back on my grandparents and Deanie and Lefty...they were one when the Lord called the husbands home. I look to my parents and Betty and Gerry...both couples are one...this didn’t happen overnight... they both share 50-plus years of marriage. I look to your Dad and I and see God still adding pressure and heat to make us one...my prayer for us and for you is that you will allow the Lord to add the pressure, the heat and the unbelievable joys and challenges that it takes to make you one. Don’t give up until you see His reflection in your relationship. I see His reflection in the relationships that are yours and my inheritance.
I leave you with poems from Ruth Bell Graham..another one who walked through her marriage journey until the Lord called her home.
let me be all he ever dreamed
of loveliness and laughter,
Veil his eyes a bit
because there are so many little flaws;
please let him see
only the bride I long to be,
remembering ever after-
I was all he ever dreamed
of loveliness and laughter.
Here are more of Ruth Bell Graham’s words and her prayer on her wedding day....they are my prayer for you also, my only daughter.
“With this ring I thee wed…” your strong, familiar voice fell like a benediction
on my heart that dusk; tall candles flickered gently, our age-old vows were
said, and I could hear someone begin to sing an old, old song... timeworn and
lovely, timeworn and dear. And in that dusk were old, old friends – and you,
an old friend, too (and dearer than them all). Only my ring seemed new – its
plain gold surface warm and bright and strange to me in that
candlelight…unworn – unmarred. Could it be that wedding rings like other
things are lovelier when scarred?
Never let it end, God, never – please – all this growing loveliness, all of these
brief moments of fresh pleasure – never let it end, let us always be a little
breathless at love’s beauty; never let us pause to reason from a sense of
duty; never let us stop to measure just how much to give; never let us stop to
weigh love; let us live – and live! Please God, let our hearts kneel always,
love their only Master, knowing the warm impulsiveness of shattered
alabaster: I know You can see things the way a new bride sees, so never let
it end, God, never – please.