June 11, 1988, two kids said, "I do" in a beautiful candlelit ceremony where they committed themselves to each other for life. They had no idea what storms would lay ahead or what great joys would hold them together! Shortly after the wedding, they noticed that his wedding band was engraved with "alway" instead of "always". But they decided that they liked that and began to sign cards with "alway" and have continued for 32 years.
Mike and I were 26 and 24 at that time. My dad had told me that marriage was the hardest thing I would ever do. Like all the sacrificing, sharing, etc. And I would learn there are some things I could not change and some things I would just have to get over. If not, resentment and bitterness would take root. Ephesians 4: 32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another,forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Our marriage started out kind of like this..... when we began Sunday School as a married couple, everyone would laugh about "wives submit". Ephesians 5: 22-23, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior." Yeah, it was funny because there was no way I would "submit". As I began to read scripture, I could fight back with, "keep reading!" I knew there was more to it! Ephesians 5: 25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
As our relationships grew with God we began to see the need for God as the center of our marriage. I knew from watching my parents relationship that you need God! But we had to find our own way and do it all wrong first. Finally, I was able to think, if a husband loves his wife like Christ loved the church then he would not ask anything wrong of her. It would be safe to submit to him! Now I think it is funny because God would never expect me to "submit" to a man who did not love me like he should! Thirty two years later and we are still learning and still sacrificing for one another.
My husband is my God-given companion. He is aware of my moods and needs. He knows my faults and forgives them often. He praises my accomplishments and feels my failures, He is always encouraging me to be what God has planned for me. He waited patiently as I had to learn how to share my hurts and fears. We have been by each other for richer and poorer. We have been by each other in sickness and in health. We have been by each other for better and worse.
Through this life we became a team and best friends. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Through the years we have celebrated our anniversaries in many different ways. Some years we could only afford a picnic, some years out to dinner, some years grieving, some years celebrating graduations, some years traveling, some years sick, some times with family or friends. We have enjoyed one another. We have frustrated one another. We have loved. We have fought. We have agreed. We have disagreed. Through all the ups and downs we have been committed. We committed to love and to stay together. (I am not saying there are not times you should leave.)
As I meditate on the past 32 years and how God has brought us through, I am amazed. I thank God for this grace-filled vision He has of love in 1 Corinthians 13. The things we only dreamed of God brought to fruition - even bigger and better than anything we could have ever imagined! I pray God will continue to give us the grace we need, day by day, in this union made by God. I pray I can see my marriage through God's eyes, seeing what God has done and is doing.
Happy anniversary, Mike! I love you, "alway"! Thanks be to God!