through the rest of my life

Three years ago today, I exchanged vows with my husband. We didn't promise to care for each other in sickness or in health. Or in richness or poorness. Instead, we found different words to exchange - words that meant something more to me - to us.
Leslie, I love you and I know that this love is from God. Because of this, I want to be your husband so that we might serve Christ together. Through all of the uncertainties and trials of the present and future, I promise to be faithful to you and love you. I promise to guide and protect you as Christ does his church, as long as we both shall live. God's Word gives us the perfect example of this love in Christ's death for the Church. I shall try always, with God's help, to show you this same kind of love, for I know that in His sight we will both be one.
Justin, I love you. I prayed that God would lead me to his choice. I praise Him that tonight His will is being fulfilled. Through the pressures of the present and uncertainties of the future I promise my faithfulness, to follow you through all of life's experiences as you follow God, that together we may grow in the likeness of Christ and our home be a praise to Him.
No one stood beside as we pledged our love to each other. Friends came to the front and read poems or verses.
I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you, for the part of me that you bring out. I love you, for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out, into the light, all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. I love you, because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple. Out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song. I love you, because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fate could have done to make me happy. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself. Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all. - “I Love You”, by Roy Croft
They say they will love, comfort, honor each other to the end of their days. They say they will cherish each other and be faithful to each other always. They say they will do these things not just when they feel like it, but even -- for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health -- when they don’t feel like it at all. In other words, the vows they make could hardly be more extravagant. They give away their freedom. They take on themselves each other’s burdens. They bind their live s together... The question is, what do they get in return? They get each other in return... There will always be the other to talk to, to listen to... There is still someone to get through the night with, to wake into the new day beside. If they have children, they can give them, as well as each other, roots and wings. If they don’t have children, they each become the other’s child. They both still have their lives apart as well as a life together. They both still have their separate ways to find. But a marriage made in heaven is one where a man and a woman become more richly themselves together than the chances are either of them could ever have managed to become alone. - Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words
Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something, which has to be created. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling. - "The Irrational Season", by Madeleine L'Engle
Our mothers struggled to light the unity candle only to have it blown out minutes afterwards.
We exchanged rings.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and as in today, tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. - “Blessing of the Hands", revised by Rev. Daniel L. Harris
It rained all day leading up to the ceremony. The day was to be held outside. Our wedding coordinator suggested moving the ceremony inside, but I refused. I wanted an outdoor wedding. It was my dream. And just as I slipped my hand into the crook of my father's elbow, the rain stopped.
The ground was wet, and clouds lingered in the sky. Raindrops glistened on the luscious gardens, and our guests sat underneath tents. The reception was inside of the house rather than on the deck. And the ceremony went as planned.
I've said before that God orchestrated the wedding. He made the lighting perfect for pictures. He ensured that the hurrican threatening the Gulf Coast spared my parent's house while they were in Oklahoma City for my wedding. He brought together two families and created the family I have now with my husband.

But his orchestration didn't end with the wedding. It continues in the daily life of my marriage. Even when the storms threaten to keep us indoors. Even when it seems all hope is lost and that we will be swept away by a hurrican. He shows up. Right as we are about to step outside of our marriage. Right as we are ready to move on from where we are. He comes in and reminds us that He is there and will always be there.
That's why we're still married today. We are just two sinners saved by grace. And we have a God who loves us enough to fight for us (and our marriage) on the days that we are too tired to do anything but fight with each other.

(title from "we are man & wife" by michelle featherstone)

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