“Were we ever that young?” I asked my husband as we watched the young couple exchange rings. Daniel and Sarah looked into each other’s eyes and they smiled. Their vows exchanged before God and those assembled signifying the start to what we hope will be a long and happy lifetime together. Do they have any idea what they were getting into? I’m not saying it negatively. Thirty-one years with my husband gives me some credibility to share some insights into wedded bliss. It is not always blissful, (sorry Daniel and Sarah), but it is a huge adventure!
I married my best friend in a tiny Presbyterian Church in Sooke B.C. on June 2, 1979. Just before I arrived to the church, Charles was sequestered with Rev. Lin in the Pastor’s office that was located just to the left of the podium. I have it on good authority that just as I was coming up the church steps, one of Charles’ army buddies ran up to the door and pounded on it yelling, “Run for it! There’s still time!” (Thanks, Mike 🙂 )
Luckily, Charles did not “run for it” but smiled at me as I came down the aisle and vowed that through sickness, health, love and sorrow, he would be faithful to me alone…and he meant it! Now I know a lot of young people who have exchanged those same kinds of vows and meant every word they said but then when the testing came (as it always does), they crumbled under the pressure. Vows were forgotten and promises broken when everyday life put obstacles and challenges in front of the couple. They discovered that marriage isn’t easy. “Run for it!” seemed like the only way out.
Thirty one years have seen Charles and I face job losses together; infertility, crisis pregnancies, adoption, financial crises, household moves, deaths of parents, depression (me), work challenges, and life threatening illness (me). We didn’t get through those times on our own strength. It would have been easy to “run for it”, instead we journeyed through those times together hand in hand, and remembered the covenant we had made to each other before God on our wedding day to “love one another until death do us part”. I balk at those that say, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”…Love means “saying sorry” a lot and meaning it! It’s admitting we’re wrong or at fault when we mess up and we need forgiveness. It’s crying and saying “sorry” and then forgiving one another and then saying “I love you” and really meaning it! (Kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Sounds like the kind of love that the Father has for His children.)
Bailey and Erik exchanged their vows only weeks after Sarah and Daniel. Once again I turned to Charles and asked him, “Were we ever that young?” Another ceremony, another young couple looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. I can’t get over how many of the young people we have known for years at our church are now walking hand in hand to the altar to be married. I remember teaching them in Sunday School! Surely I haven’t aged that much…have I? Bailey looked radiant in her gown, her dark hair cascading down her shoulders.
I couldn’t help but flashback remembering the vows Charles and I spoke to one another thirty-one years ago. Did we have any idea how poignant those words were? Did Charles think about the significance of those words: “I will love Lynn in sickness and health”, when twenty-two years later he was shaving my head bald after my hair started to fall out in clumps after my first chemotherapy treatment? Love is not spoken in words, it is spoken in action.
I pray that Sarah and Daniel, Bailey and Erik, Robbie and Robyn always remember that. Oh, and remember too that God is control. He will never leave you or forsake you. Promise each other that you will never “run for it”, no matter what, but that you will stay the course…hand in hand…always and forever. Amen.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (Charles and my life verse).