“Let’s say our vows to each other again today at the wedding.” You looked at me with that familiar, comfortable love which still makes sparks fly, no matter what nays others say.
I agreed. So we did. Right there in our pew, in silent meditation, along with Aaron and Cassidy, our arms entwined and our fingers locked. Like nothing could tear us apart, separate us.
How can words be strong enough to bind two together for 1 year, 16 years, 30 years, even 60?
Our words that fly from our lips sometimes carelessly, stinging each other deep.
From those same lips spring words carefully crafted to beautifully declare our love.
Did we know what we were saying 16 years ago today when we looked into each other’s eyes and made a promise for the rest of our lives? A life is short but can seem oh so long.
Just ask the man whose wife has been unfaithful and he fights to keep that promise to her before God. Although her heart has wandered, he tethers his tight.
Just ask the woman caring for her husband through an ongoing battle with physical illness, depression, or both. He isn’t who he used to be but she submits to the circumstances and makes sure she isn’t either.
Ask the parents whose kids are tearing their hearts from end to end and they’re fighting for shreds, anything left to give each other.
We promise to love in circumstances we can’t foresee or predict. Those vows are poetic expressions that we’ll not only love in sickness and health but all the days in between – days filled with nagging aches and pains, seasonal allergies, and mid-life hormonal changes.
For richer or poorer. . . and every week we are just trying to stay within the budget.
For better or worse. . . and the majority of life that’s lived in the snooze-button-hitting, coming-late-for-dinner, stuck-in-traffic, taxiing-to-another-practice, running-one-more-errand, diaper-changing, sibling-refereeing, attitude-adjusting, mundane middle.
Our promise to love was a step of faith.
I didn’t like that.
I wanted a guarantee before I married you of how things would unfold and the type of man you’d be down the road. But we commit to honor the other before we know if he or she will remain honorable. We pledge to cherish before we know if our spouse will stay cherish-able.
Because we say these solemn vows before witnesses for accountability that even if he or she isn’t, we’re ultimately declaring our faith is not in each other, but in God, who is always worthy to be cherished and honored.
We stood before Cambridge Bible Church 16 years ago, expressing our faith in God alone to set our love intentionally on each other. Many who were there then will read these words today.
By his grace, we are still looking to God, confessing our promise to keep what only he can help us keep. We have 16 years of his faithfulness to remember, securing our steps into our 17th year and beyond.
Our hands and fingers are entwined, still locked with his. Like nothing can separate us. And I’m convinced it can’t.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)