It’s almost here, your wedding day. The thrum of energy that’s under-girded your days for the last few months is finally reaching it crescendo. Preparations have been made, loved ones summoned, many prayers whispered; and soon it will be time, Beautiful Bride, for you to don the white dress and walk down the aisle representing your past, present and future, on the arm of the man who raised you and into the arms of the man who will walk with you the rest of the way home.
Though I’ve sent you a gift and uttered many prayers on your behalf, it occurs to me that there may be one more bestowal I can yet offer. And it’s simply this – one wife’s perspective, looking back on nearly two decades since her own vows.
I’ve heard marriage compared to a feast and I can see the truth in this. Throughout the course of a lifetime together, you will taste both the bitter and the sweet. At times, you’ll drink deeply of the wine of erotic love; and at other times you’ll enjoy the nourishment of the comfort of companionship. Still other times, you will warm yourselves in front of the fire of familial love, sampling the variety that comes with a life forged of sacrifice for the sake of others. More rarely, you’ll feast on all three at once and, in those times, you’ll swear you never knew anything of love before.
Of course, your feast will have its interruptions and its awkward silences and its banalities and there will be moments when you wish you could step away, or perhaps even turn away, from the Groom you ran toward at one time. As your table fills with children and co-workers and mutual friends, you will feel yourselves pulled from each other, spread in many directions, and you’ll wonder if just the two of you will ever feast like you once did again.
But if you remember just two truths, Beautiful Bride, you will come back to each other again and again. And here they are…
The first truth is that your Groom has been crafted in the very image of God Almighty. This means the essence of who he is bears the stamp of the One your heart loves most. He has a purpose and a mission and, when he is alive unto God in Christ, he brings the Father untold joy!
Consider the wonder of this! You are walking toward a life of feasting together before the Lord with someone who is meant for greatness, no matter how small or how large his acts. You are joining lives with a son of the Living God, whose every hair the Father has counted, whose every thought the Father knows well and, yet, who the Father calls beloved.
Recall this truth when the feast grows dull or difficult, when your time and your mind are divided. Ask the Lord to lend you His eyes so that you may remember the miracle of your Groom and the joy of the feast your share.
But, Beautiful Bride, there is still one truth that you must hold onto; and this one is perhaps more difficult to grasp.
Your Groom is an image bearer, yes. But, Beautiful Bride, so are you.
Long before you met your Groom, you were marked by God. Before that even, when you were in your mother’s womb, you were being knit together by His hands. You were not created only to be your parents’ daughter or your Groom’s Bride; you were created to “glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” You carry attributes that reflect aspects of the Divine and, because of that, your every action can be made sacred.
Recall this truth in the face of those who would diminish you; when the mundanity of life seems to suffocate you; when times are changing and you feel your feet slipping and you have to renegotiate your place in this world.
You, too, have a purpose and a mission and they are no less important than your Groom’s; and, when you are alive unto God in Christ, He takes no less joy in you!
I bestow this blessing upon you, Beautiful Bride:
May you always regard your Groom with awe because of the image he bears; may you sit beside him at the feast of your life with gratitude and humility and grace. May you honor the work the Lord does through him, supporting him as lover, as family, and as friend.
And may you always have the courage to bear the image within yourself too. May you never shrink from it in fear or hide it away for the comfort of others. May you honor the work the Lord does through you, giving yourself to it with a whole heart.
And, together, may you both experience something of a return to Eden; may you look at each other again and again with ever-young eyes of wonder, marveling at the beautiful mystery of a God who chooses to make His home in you.