My wife and I followed the tradition of not seeing each other on the day of the wedding. So, the moment I first saw Carol as she appeared at the end of the aisle, my breath was taken away. She was absolutely beautiful and I could not believe that I would soon be married to this amazing woman. As she started to walk down the aisle, I felt my eyes begin to fill with a watery, salty discharge … tears, I think they’re called. As she eventually made her way down the aisle and to my side, those same tears started to roll down my cheek because it was becoming more and more clear to me that there were now a whole lot of women who were going to miss out. Sorry ladies. 😊 Although I say that jokingly, the truth is the moment I said “yes” to Carol, I was, in essence, saying “no” to every other woman on the planet.
Anyone can fall in love. Honestly, falling in love is the easy part. About the only thing it takes to fall in love is a pulse. Staying in love … that’s a different story. Love is a choice. It’s a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week commitment that says I am going to choose to love you … even if you’re not being lovable … even if things change … even if I change … I am vowing myself to you and I choose to love you from this day forward. A “feeling” would never be strong enough to hold people together through all of the changes in life. And, that is why marriage is described as a covenant. A covenant says that I’m not only choosing to love who you are today but, forsaking all others, I choose to love the person you are becoming. A covenant keeps one eye on the present and one eye on the future by choosing to love today and choosing to love tomorrow even though none of us knows what tomorrow holds in store. And, this is important to remember for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons to remember this is simply because people change. You will not be the same person 5 years from now and neither will your spouse.
I have been married to 8 different women in the last 14 years … and they’ve all been named Carol … Carol as a new bride, Carol as a mother of one child, two children, three children, four children, Carol as a working mom, Carol as a stay-at-home mom, and Carol after a move to Maryland. And, guess what … she’ll continue to change. We all do because God’s grace is all about change. The grace of God accepts us where we are but always does so with the agenda to move us forward.
So the power of marriage is rooted deeply in the commitment to love today and to love tomorrow and by, forsaking all others, there is a willingness to do whatever it takes to help your spouse become who God is calling them to be. Just as God commits Himself to you, so you commit yourself to your spouse.
If that makes marriage sound like hard work that’s because it is! If we believe this to be true, we will see every easy opportunity and every hard opportunity to love as a way that God continues to reveal to us our need for Jesus and His grace at work in our life.
I believe that God wants us to be great husbands or great wives, but His greater purpose is to make us more like Jesus and, in so doing, we become the husband or wife He has created us to be.