The thing that was the most striking to me as I watched the whole event in its entirety was the obviousness that my groom and I ~more than anything else~ simply wanted to be married. After dating for four years at the tender ages of 18 and 19, he and I just wanted to be together. Many of the details were not that important. Did it matter that the flowers look like funeral arrangements? No way! Or that the first song played at our reception was a Casio-ish keyboard/country/violin version of "Go Tell it on the Mountain"? Whatever. Micah's favorite detail was the basketball goal that hung down behind the table with our wedding cake. Chic.
As I think back on the day, I have nothing but good memories. I especially loved witnessing such a kind group of people working diligently to give us a beautiful day. The video taping, catering, and much of the music were gifts. It is precious to me to watch my grandfather officiate the ceremony and I absolutely love hearing his sweet voice even though he is no longer here with us. There were others there that have gone before us and while odd, it is pleasantly nostalgic to see them moving through past time and space, doing the things they always did.
The most important part of the day ~making vows to each other before God and all our family and friends~ was accomplished despite the details. As my groom and I braided a cord of three strands, God did knit our hearts together in a way that has taught me much about who He is and the promises He keeps.
The thrust of most love songs dwell on the feelings of love, not the promise. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy a good, romantic ballad. We had one in our wedding. It was "Go There with You" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I had no idea how very literal that song would be lived out in our marriage! I absolutely love it when Micah sings "You are so Beautiful" to me. However, these days, my favorite songs are those that acknowledge the complexity of the feelings a life-long relationship brings in the struggle to keep each vow. The Civil Wars express it the most artfully through their song "Poison and Wine". I don't love you, I always will is the most romantic lyric to fall upon the ears of a gal who fully understands that I am not that easy to live with some days (to say it kindly). I particularly think about how all those promises I made to my husband, to love and cherish just to give an example, and how I have failed through the years. That acknowledgement combined with a husband who chooses to love me despite the ways he is acquainted with my inadequacies creates an intimacy far surpassing a forced romanticism. To be fully known and fully loved without fear of rejection is what true intimacy is made of, to borrow from one of my favorite seminary professors.
Micah so clearly articulated this as he officiated my brother and his new wife's wedding ~ the promise is the foundation. And it brings us to the Author of both covenant and unity. The question marriage brings as I, a sinner, commit myself every day to choose to love my husband is, How can God be in covenant and communion with persons so very opposite his nature? Talk about being unequally yolked~ How can I be one with Christ in perfect unity given my sin?
Isaiah 62 speaks of a Bridegroom and describes the destiny of His wandering, much-in-need-of-redemption people:
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Years later, the Bridegroom is revealed and to the church at Corinth Paul says, For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him ~Jesus Christ~. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Reading these words gives me a picture of the One who has set His delight and His affection on me. God is the One who provides the foundation and means of the promise and relates it fully to us in Jesus and seals it with his Spirit. Though despised and rejected, the Bridegroom approaches, I watch His face, and He smiles. He has set his affection on a needy people ~ on this needy person. He knows me and yet He loves me.
So as I relive my promise to Micah, I revel in the message in the mystery as it becomes a picture of grace. As he continues to love me, I desire to love him even more. As for more years of marital bliss, I borrow from yet another honestly romantic ballad:
This beautiful tangle that's bruising us blue
It's a beautiful knot that we just can't undo
Together we're one but apart tell me
Who are we foolin'?