On this day, exactly one year after I stood in front of family and friends and promised my life to one man, I need to make something clear: I did not marry for love.
For those of you who know my husband and me as a couple, this statement might be a bit puzzling. Allow me to explain.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my husband very much. But my love for him is not why I married him. In fact, I think that love should not be the main reason two people get married, and that you can love someone and at the same time respect that marrying them is not the right thing to do.
When I met Steve I met a man who I could respect, not because he is perfect, but because he is good. I’ve never met another person who has more knowledge about the word of God or more desire to serve God and others in a way that is entirely true to how he was created. He honestly and sincerely always tries to do good.
In Steve, I met someone who I knew would work with me to love, not based on feeling, but based on a calling to a model of marriage that is designed to bring us both closer to God. I met someone who I respect enough to listen to and allow him to help me grow into who I was meant to be. I met someone who respects me enough to allow me to do the same for him. I knew that we did not want to change each other to meet our own selfish needs, but that we both wanted to be the catalyst for us both to be more Christ-like, as individuals and as a couple.
I knew that Steve was someone who would do the work of marriage, first and foremost because it is right to fulfill your commitments to God and others, and secondly because he knew who I was and loved me anyway. I believed that we would both keep in mind that the purpose of marriage is not to complete each other, but to exemplify God’s love.
That is why I married him. And that is what prompted this vow that I said to him one year ago.
“I grew up with an ideal of what I wanted my future husband to be. But then, I grew up.
I grew into a fiercely independent woman, quite sure marriage was meant only for those hopeless, twitterpated romantics.
And then I came to understand what marriage really means, and what it is meant to do.
I do not marry you today out of fleeting emotion or idealistic notions of love. I marry you today so that together we may grow in the likeness of Christ and so that our home may be a testimony to Him. Together we will face all of life’s experiences and difficulties with the option of growing closer together and toward God, or of seeking to meet our own needs. I promise to always grow toward you as we grow toward God. I promise to share your dreams and goals. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to love you not only with my heart, but with my actions, my will, and God’s strength, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I take you to be my partner, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know.
For where you go I will go; and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. And where you die, I will…bury you, just like you want. And then I’m turning up the thermostat!”
So on this day, I want to remind my wonderful husband: I love you and I like you. 😉