Early on, when we were first trying to figure out how a person was actually supposed to stay married ’til death do us part and (if I’m being honest here) wondering if the wedding vow people were serious when they wrote that part, H and I used to ask people who’d been married for any significant amount of time, “What’s the secret?”
Sometimes people would shrug their shoulders and look at their spouse, then sigh and gaze at some point past my forehead, and that was that. Other times, the couple would settle back into their chairs, reach across and hold each other’s hands and go on and on about one thing or another, telling us it was the absolute most sure-fire way to stay married to one another. “Don’t go to bed angry,” was a common theme, but H and I had already broken that rule. Multiple times.
Last week, when I looked at the calendar and realized our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary was quickly approaching, it sort of blew my mind to realize how fast the years have passed, and just how much I really love the man I’m married to. I’m not saying we have a perfect marriage. Far from it. I’m not saying we are perfect people. Just ask our children. Or our parents. Or our neighbors. I’m not saying we even like each other all the time. We are experts at finding, wearing out, and grating on one other’s one good nerve. But our love for each other isn’t going anywhere. I don’t have words to describe it, and if you asked me, I’d probably shrug my shoulders and gaze at some point past your forehead.
I asked H, “Why do you think we’ve made it this far? I mean, we love each other for real. How did we do it? How DO we do it? What, do you think, is our secret?”
H didn’t have an answer for me then, but a few days later he said to me, “Remember your question? Remember how we were trying to figure out why our marriage has been so good? Why we’ve lasted so long?”
Of course I remembered.
“Well,” he said, “I was looking at our wedding pictures. I was looking at all those people who came to our wedding and those people? Those were some praying people,” he said.
In my head, I recounted the people who had been guests at our wedding, and I had to agree with H. Those people were, indeed, some praying people.
“I think the key to our marriage,” H said, “is that those praying people were praying for us.”
Of course, that is not to say that the reverse is true. It doesn’t mean that if our marriage hadn’t worked, that there hadn’t been anyone praying for us. I don’t think having praying people at the wedding is a magic formula that guarantees a successful marriage. But I do think it helps. (Not that one should try to stack the deck with praying people at a wedding. “Well, if we invite her, we have to invite two more pray-ers.”)
“Wow,” I said out loud, “that just changes my entire perspective on being a guest at a wedding. I mean, I usually just go and cry because it’s so romantic and hopeful and beautiful.” Now, I see that being a guest at a wedding is an amazing privilege. Not something to be taken lightly. It is an invitation to celebrate and to dance and to cry and to witness the beautiful exchange of vows. And it is an amazing opportunity to bow for a moment and invite God to bless them and to keep them and to be gracious unto them — even ’til death do them part.
Celebrating 26 years of marriage today. Grateful for love. Grateful for the prayers of people who love us. Grateful for the hope that always lies ahead…
Do you know my friend, Lisa Leonard? She makes beautiful jewelry, like the bracelet in the photo up there (arrived just in time for our anniversary!). Well, Lisa Leonard and DaySpring have joined forces (look out, y’all!) to introduce a brand new jewelry line – The Lisa Leonard Faith Collection! Click over, browse the collection, and then use the code LLFAITH15 to receive 15% off your purchase (I’m thinking Christmas, right about now).