For better, for worse

We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.   It seems like it was just yesterday that we were standing at an altar in a little country church before the minister and our friends and saying the centuries-old vow.

to have and to hold, from this day forward,
 for better, for worse,
 for richer, for poorer,
 in sickness and in health,
 until death do us part.

I must confess, those words have seemed to echo in my mind this year,  probably because it has been 30 years since we were married.  There has been a river of memories like water under a bridge. So many things have happened.  As I thought of the words of love that my husband and I spoke all those years ago, my first thought was,

"How could I dare to speak them?"

I guess I was young and invincible.
I think that like most young people standing on the brink of marriage, what I heard was “To have and to hold, from this day forward” and I thought oh yea.  The rest went something like this “for better or blah blah (insert the school teacher from the Peanuts comic strip), for richer blah, blah, Blah, blah in health ….”  Like Mrs. Incredible, I think I’m getting married, what can possibly go wrong.  Looking back, I am so glad I said those words because life is messy.  There has been some poorer as well as some richer.  But I promised to be there for both.  There have been days that were magical and other that have been a nightmare, but could I accept the one and not the other?  Yes, there have been days when one of was sick and other when I have felt like the epitome of health.  Those vows that I took have reminded me that I can’t walk away when times are rough.   It reminds me of another vow I made.   The promise to follow Christ.  No, I didn’t use the wedding vow, I prayed.  But it that prayer, I said God I’m not leaving you, and God had already promised never to leave me or forsake me.  I said no matter what happens or who else follows, I will follow you forever.   Yes, there have been good and bad because God has not removed us from this world, so the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  When things are bad, I hold on to Jesus because if he can hold the universe, he can hold me.  In our marriage when things are rough we shelter each other from the stormy blasts. We often want to bolt and run when storms hit and God asks us to stay because we promised.

No, were not perfect, we still live in this tent (body) we fail sometimes, we get irritable. And then we ask forgiveness, to build a bridge and get over it.  Because to love like God means to forgive as God forgives me, completely, to always be there when the storms hit.
My marriage often reminds me of what it means to be a Christian, to love unconditionally.

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