Oct 17, 2013

Our Marriage Renewal

     At then end of summer, as we approached our 15 wedding anniversary, the hubs proposed the idea that we should renew our wedding vows.  I was so excited and felt like a newly engaged woman. What woman wouldn't want her spouse to tell her that he loved enough to say I do all over again? That very day we started discussing what the renewal would look like, and where and when we wanted it to happen. It was then that my great excitement started to dwindle. I'm the type of girl who is a total hopeless romantic. I love flowers, sappy movies, romantic dinners, and all that, but the one thing I don't love is standing before a crowd with all eyes on me. So when Josh said he wanted to invite all of our family, friends, and church, I cringed. I did not want this to turn out to be another full blown wedding.  I was thinking more along the lines of us, the kids, and maybe our parents. Don't get me wrong I love all those other important people in our lives but I don't wanna stand in front them with all their eyes on me.
      We talked and talked and talked about it some more. Now, I know and you know that one of the keys to a happy marriage is compromise and most often I am willing, but this time, I must confess, I stood my ground for a long time until the compromise fell heavy on him. ;) The guest list was under 40 including our crew.
     The process of planning the renewal and making the decorations turned out to be almost as much of a blessing as the actual event. Sitting up late at night with my girls making our bouquets and table decorations proved to be more fun than I had imagined. We laughed as I told them dating stories and cried as I told them how they were a part of our dreams and prayers even way back then. We discussed marriage and the commitment that it takes. We discussed their future spouses and our desires for them.

     All of this led right up to the service, that day. We had a friend/mentor of about 10 years lead the service. This was really important to us. We wanted someone who knew us well and had seen our marriage through many years. He read scripture and talked about the two of us together. He also talked directly to our children and told them that in this day and age they had something rare. They had the security of knowing that their parents were in love, committed to one another, and that they didn't have to worry about enduring a divorce as a child. The girls wept through this part, as we did too.
     We wrote our vows to one another. Josh read his first. They were wonderful and perfect, just like I had imagined them to be. Mine however, were at home lying on my desk. I admitted this, and in pure Andrea fashion burst out laughing. Thankfully, I remembered most of of what I wanted to say.

     15 years may not seem long enough to some to warrant a vow renewal. It was on our hearts though, and those years for us have been full of change and growth. We got married at the ages of 19 and newly 21. We were babies some said on that day and today I would agree. We got married at a time in our lives that wouldn't require us to simply grow old together but to also to finish growing up as husband and wife. Now with four children, we have to remind ourselves, me especially, that this family began with the two of us. Our relationship has to be kept strong because this world can be relentless and temptations of many kinds lurk around every corner. We are only able to beat those temptations and meet those demands if we are standing firm together in Christ and putting ourselves aside for the one another.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—
Ephesians 5:21-29

     The most beautiful part of that day is that we stood there knowing that if these bodies held up, we would still be together to do it again in another 50 years.

     Our commitment is deep. It begins with our love and devotion to God. He is the rock that our marriage stands on. His word provides all the instructions we need to make this work. It's not always easy and often requires great sacrifice, but it's definitely worth it.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
*All photos by EverAfter Photography