On October 23, 1999, I made a commitment to the woman by my side that I would stay with her through the good times and the bad. In this day and age, those words don’t really mean all that much. There are so many today who only want to stick around as long as things are going well. When it gets hard, they bail. For my wife and I, it’s not like that. As hard as it’s been at times, we remain dedicated to the covenant we made with God and each other.
We watched Fireproof again last night. I’ve lost count on how many times we’ve seen that movie. (Check it out here.) The guys at Sherwood Pictures have produced some amazing films, but this one truly hits home for us as a married couple. Some of the situations in the movie are ones that we have walked through ourselves. Overcoming addictions, unconditional love, and ultimate forgiveness to name a few.
Starting out, marriage appeared easy. We said our vows, exchanged rings, and, after enduring a million pictures, headed off to our honeymoon. What we didn’t realize was that all of the baggage from our past didn’t just miraculously disappear when we said “I do.” All of it jumped aboard the marriage train and came along with us. There was a particular addiction I had dealt with for many years that I assumed would be all better now that I had a wife. Instead of getting better, it nearly destroyed our marriage. You can read more about that by clicking HERE.
Marriage is not a destination, it’s the beginning of a journey. It’s a process of getting to know your spouse even more as each day passes. I’ve failed horribly at being a good husband so many times, that I can’t even count them anymore. The beautiful thing is that I have been forgiven not only by God, but by my amazing wife as well. Trust and forgiveness are quite possibly the two most vital pieces of any marriage.
Trust is something that I destroyed several times, and each time, had to start a rebuilding process. That is not easy. Once trust is broken, it’s so much harder to re-establish. It’s a long, difficult road, but very rewarding at the end. My wife is an awesome person. I’m not just saying that to suck up. She is a walking example of true love and grace. It still blows me away, and brings me to tears, when I think about her granting me forgiveness after I had completely mauled and shattered her heart. It’s humbling to me that I have been blessed with such an amazing person to share life with here on Earth.
We know that God has to be the foundation of our marriage. Everything rests on His shoulders. Without Him, we can do nothing, heck, we are nothing. We’re human. We’re going to fail. We’re going to screw up. We’re going to hurt the ones we love the most. That’s just how it is, the reality of being a human being. Basing a marriage in Him doesn’t negate that fact, it just provides the love and grace by which to survive the hard times. Over the last fourteen years, we have cried out to Him for direction, strength, and mercy. Each time, He has answered.
Until today, I had never really looked into the meaning and significance of the wedding band. Here is some information I found. Why place a ring on the left hand? Because ancient Romans believed the left hand’s fourth finger (the ‘ring finger’) contained a special vein connected directly to the heart. According to Jewish tradition, the placing of the ring, without stone or inscription, is on the first finger of the bride’s right hand. In early times, it often bore the portraits of the bridal pair. The ring itself represented a never-ending circle that symbolized eternal love. A European tradition encourages the engraving of the name of one’s intended spouse and the date of one’s intended marriage on the ring’s inside surface. – info found at Biblestudy.org.
A never ending circle of eternal love. I like that description. For me, the ring symbolizes that no matter what happens, no matter what storms and trials come our way, we are bound together under God to endure them as one. Like any other commitment, marriage shouldn’t be just something we do until it gets old or we get bored. It’s a promise from one imperfect human to another that our love will overcome everything that tries to stand in our way.
If you’re struggling in your marriage, look each other in the eye and say “I will never give up on us”. Do whatever it takes to keep the promise you made on your wedding day.
For better or for worse. Until death do us part.
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Have a blessed day.