Saturday, June 03, 2006

Here comes the bride

June 4, 1977

Although tomorrow is, by date, our wedding anniversary, by day, it is today. Sometimes it feels like I have always been married. That is said not in a bad way, it is just that I cannot easily remember not being married. After all, twenty-nine years of married life is longer than my twenty years of single life that I had.

These past twenty-nine years have had their ups and downs but a whole lot more ups than downs. I think there are humps (as I call them) in marriage just like there are in child growth and development. Maybe there is a analogy between marriage and the trivium---the years before children are the grammar stage (knowledge), child-rearing years are our logic stage (understanding), and our rhetoric stage starts when the children begin to leave the nest and make their own lives (wisdom).

I do know that my husband and I have had a happy marriage and one free from major heartache that we see in many marriages. It does seem that when our rough days flaunt themselves, it is when we are at the advent of a new stage in life. Our current new stage is transitioning between the completion of child-rearing and the empty nest. And, I've learned, empty nest doesn't always mean that our fledglings actually leave the nest, often they become independent adults still living at home while continuing their education and working.

I have learned to go to sleep without worry even though the fledglings are not safely tucked into their beds at night, that they will (or they should) call home if something is wrong or if they are going to be really late. I have learned that we don't always see positive and good results of our child-raising and have learned that this is a time when my responsibility wanes and their's is waxing. Stepping back and not active-parenting is a rough hump to get over. This is when you learn to have faith in the verse "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

I have learned (actually I am still learning this one) that many things we, as parents, assumed for the fledglings all these years are now their responsibility. There are lessons they will have to learn, and sometimes those lessons are best learned by the school-of-hard-knocks. Worry does no good and can actually be a harmful and huge stumbling block in a marriage.

I have also learned that a quiet and empty house, save the presence of my husband, is comfortable and soothing.

Change comes and we have to adjust to it, whatever the change is. And change is not always easy. Just like practicing the piano. Or practicing penmanship. Or those Latin conjugations.

But once we're over the hump of change, life takes on a different sort of comfort and pleasure.

Your husband is, or should be, your best friend. It's good to have a longtime best friend to go over those rough humps with.

We compiled and wrote our entire marriage service. The Meaning, The Vows, and The Charge follow. Sobering words, even after twenty-nine years.

The Meaning:

Marriage sanctifies the privilege of sharing in creative life. It is not an arrangement of convenience, either physical or financial, to be entered into at will and dissolved at whim. It is a holy covenant between tow people, pledged to love each other, trust each other, and face all of life together. It is built of imponderable things of the spirit: loyalties, memories, imagination, sacrifices, joy, laugher, and tears. Reverence for God an each other must sustain it.

As the songwritier so appropriately put it:
“God from the beginning had it in His plan,
to join together into one flesh this woman and this man.
In the fullness of the Spirit’s love, we move to make our stand,
for the binding of a promise between God, a woman, and a man.”

The Vows:

I love you ( ), as I love no other. All that I am I share with you. I take you to be my husband through sickness and health, through poverty and plenty, through joy and sorrow, till death parts us.

As an outward symbol that all persona may see, and in token of my vows on this holy occasion, with this ring I give my love in the name of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Charge:

The course you are embarking upon is one you have chosen for yourselves. And so you alone must bear the responsibility for what you are doing; it cannot be taken from you. It is you, the bride and groom, who as a married couple must bear the whole responsibility for the success of your married life, with all the happiness it will bring...but, even as you take full responsibility upon your own shoulders for what you are doing this day, so with equal confidence you may place it all in the hand of God. God has sealed your vows with his own. He has crowned your assent with his own. In other words, God creates out of your love something that did not exist before—the holy estate of matrimony.

Your love is your own private possession; marriage is more than a private affair; it is an estate, an office. As the crown makes the king, and not just his determination to rule, so marriage and not just your love for each other makes you husband and wife in the sight of God and man. As God is infinitely higher than man, so the sanctity, the privilege and the promise of love. It is not your love which sustains the marriage, but from now on marriage sustains your love.

Live together in forgiveness, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but take one another as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts.

Such is the word of God for your marriage. Thank Him for it, than Him for bringing you thus far. Ask Him to establish your marriage, to confirm and hallow it, and preserve it to the end.


Carrie K. said...

Happy Anniversary!

And your wedding service was absolutely beautiful.

Carol in Oregon said...

"God has sealed your vows with his own." - I love that!

"Ask Him to establish your marriage, to confirm and hallow it, and preserve it to the end." There is a verse in Colossians that I have taken out of context and applied to marriage - "In Him all things hold together." I cling to those four verbs: establish, confirm, hallow and preserve.

Congratulations, my friend! Happy Anniversary to you!

Carol in Oregon said...

Oh, I had to share a quote from Madeleine L'Engle's "Two Part Invention":

Our love has been anything but perfect and anything but static. Inevitably there have been times when one of us has outrun the other and has had to wait patiently for the other to catch up. There have been times when we have misunderstood each other, demanded too much of each other, been insensitive to the other's needs. I do not believe there is any marriage were this does not happen. The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over. Sometimes these desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could possibly have been without it."

Here's to lush, green pastures!

Patty in WA said...

Happy anniversary to you. It is no small blessing or accomplishment.

I had not heard those words to the song (Pat Terry?) for a loonnng time. I think I sang them at about 15 weddings.

We will have our 25th this year...and at this moment, I have been married half my life. It's good.

Many blessings to you.

Camy said...

Happy Anniversary, Janie! What a blessing to hear your comments about the changing phases of marriage. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy that hubbie. Blessings.

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