Our Marriage: An Unlikely Example
I kept my emotions under control until Jen, our son Jeremys radiant bride, walked down the aisle. When I saw her, I couldn't contain the tears. Our son had found a godly wife, and they had purposefully chosen Gods ways for their courtship and marriage.Randy and I never would have guessed that our own marriage - with its many failings - could have provided a positive example for our son.
My thoughts drifted to the rehearsal dinner the night before when our son Chris tapped his water glass to get everyone's attention.
"Tonight were celebrating Jeremy and Jen, but there's another couple who got married on this day 38 years ago Mom and Dad. We want to celebrate them as well."
Our guests cheered and tapped their glasses. "Kiss him," someone coaxed. I was only too glad to oblige, relieved that they hadn't asked us to make a speech.
From Tumultuous Beginnings
I couldn't help but wonder, though, what words of wisdom we might have shared. Randy and I were married when we were barely 19 years old. We loved each other as much as we knew how to at that age, but neither of us had a relationship with the living God, the One who authored marriage and its design.
We said the traditional vows. We promised to love each other for richer or poorer, in good or bad times, in sickness or health. Yet we didn't have a foundation to build on. We didn't know what it would take to live with adversity, disappointment and heartache.
Instead, our love was framed by contemporary culture and a flimsy popular notion: "Love means never having to say you're sorry" We quickly learned that we had to say sorry a lot.
When It All Changed
After several tumultuous years, one event changed the course of our marriage. On a winter day, I knelt by my bed and asked Jesus to come into my life. I began to read the Bible and learned about being a godly woman, wife and mother - and what it means to be committed to my spouse, even when I didn't feel like it.
Christ introduced me to the scriptural definition of love. I realized that if our marriage had any chance, I would have to learn how to love Randy unconditionally, respect him and look to him as the leader of our family - not an easy process. Fifteen years later, I rejoiced when Randy also made his decision to follow Christ.
You could say the rest is history. We had weathered Randy's battle with alcoholism, financial setbacks and the loss of his career. We had determined to honor our commitment to each other and to believe there was a way through our problems. In 1998, with our sons standing by us as our best men, Randy and I reaffirmed our wedding vows. The blue icing on our second wedding cake spelled out our story: amazing grace.
Only by God's help were we sitting together in the church where our son waited for his bride. Here a young couple stood on firm ground, promising to love one another and serve each other with joy all the days of their lives. As Jeremy kissed his wife, I felt a sense of awe. Somehow God had used us to influence our son. Jeremy had witnessed the Lords redeeming power in his parents marriage - and now he would surely draw on that same strength for his own.