Marriage has been a hot topic in my life recently. I attended the wedding of a dear friend this past weekend, and my Facebook news feed has been abuzz with engagement announcements and wedding photos. The topic has even been a focus of a Women’s Agvocy group that I am a member…it seems love is in the air. Naturally, all of this chatter brings back memories of my own wedding almost nineteen years ago.
As a young bride, I often dreamt of my wedding day and the magical love story that would unfold. However, neither my wedding day nor my subsequent love story has been anything close to magical. Wrought with conflict and tears almost from the beginning, my husband and I have become experts at overcoming adversity. Our polar opposite personalities coupled with our equally opposite family upbringing have made for a very interesting life.
Over the years, there been times of joy (like the birth of our children) and times of sadness (including the death of our grandparents). There have been seasons of financial plenty, and there have been seasons of financial desperation. There have been times of peace and times of intense fighting. The only reason that our marriage remains intact today is that neither of us ever gave up and attempted to walk away at the same time…one of us has always held on.
As I reflect over our past and anticipate our future, there is one truth that I wish I would have known nineteen years ago…a tidbit of wisdom that could have saved my sanity. Simply put, “Before you say ‘I Do’, Understand that God expects that you will”.
What exactly does that mean?
When you say “I do” in the sight of God and all of your witnesses, you are also saying “I will” to each of your vows…
-I DO promise to be a constant friend in sickness and in health; therefore, God expects that I WILL
-I DO promise to be a faithful partner in good times and in bad; therefore, God expects that I WILL
-I DO promise to be a loyal companion in joy as well as in sorrow; therefore, God expects that I WILL
– I DO promise to love you unconditionally; therefore, God expects that I WILL
-I DO promise to support you in your goals; therefore, God expects that I WILL
-I DO promise to honor and respect you; therefore, God expects that I WILL
– I DO promise to laugh with you and cry with you; therefore, God expects that I WILL
-I DO promise to cherish you for as long as we both shall live; therefore, God expects that I WILL
These are not just words…they are a covenant. Not just for the things that you know at the moment, but for all of the unexpected twists and turns of life that are to come. The loss of a job…difficult children…aging parents…poor investments…wrecked cars…broken dreams…no matter what the situation, “I CAN’T” or “I DON’T WANT TO” simply are not options when you understand that your “I DO” also means that that God expects that “YOU WILL”.
Nothing in my life looks the way I envisioned it on my wedding day all those years ago. I have said “I WILL” to life on a Nebraska feedlot; “I WILL” to pioneering North Carolina’s grassfed beef industry; “I WILL” to countless financial risks; and, most recently, “I WILL” to owning a slaughterhouse. If I am honest, I probably would’ve never said “I DO” if I had known all that would be expected. However, my commitment to say “I WILL” has brought me immeasurable joy as I seek to live out HIS WILL for my marriage.