Happy Wedding Day, Julie Ann!

I’m writing this to you today on your 27th wedding anniversary. Congratulations! You and Bill have experienced much in 27 years, and it’s a great day to celebrate all God has done in you and your marriage on this sunny, low 80-degree day in Iowa.

Your wedding day is finally here. It’s the day you’ve dreamed of, prayed for, imagined for so long. You’ve done much to prepare for this day… your dress is beautiful, your guests are arriving, everything seems in place. But, as you are about to walk down that aisle and start a new life together with Bill, the man of your dreams, there are a few things to take note of. There’s a few things you’ll want to know.

You’ve done a great job planning your wedding day. Now, put even more effort into your marriage.

Your wedding day is one day. Your marriage is a lifetime. Yes, you already know this, but it’s worth repeating. You’ve done much to plan the perfect day, now comes your greatest task, Julie. Put even more effort into your marriage. What you do on a daily basis in your marriage will make all the difference. Extend grace. Love unconditionally. Be patient. Do what you can to bless your marriage (even on the days you don’t feel like it). By doing so, you’ll bless Bill and it’ll bring you great joy.

A letter to my younger self on my wedding day

Don’t miss this.

Marriage is like a garden. The more you do to help the garden grow, the greater the harvest.

You must prepare the soil for a good foundation. God has brought you and Bill together. Keep Him in the center of your marriage. Your faith in Him is your foundation. Praying for your marriage and your husband is essential, and better yet, pray together.

Timely water and fertilize your garden and give the plants proper sunlight. Continue dating your husband. Weekly date nights are critical and necessary. Make them non-negotiable. Do what you can to make Bill smile. Bring light into his world. Keep feeding your marriage in fresh and lively ways. Serve your husband. Love him and respect him. Let go of your selfish tendencies. Build him up. The little things you do will strengthen your marriage.

And, this is key… don’t neglect the garden, not even for a day. If you do, weeds will begin to sprout. Weeds can kill your garden. You must be diligent to pull them out right away. If you don’t, they’ll strangle your plants and you’ll be left with nothing but weeds. You’ll have quite the mess on your hands. Don’t get complacent in your marriage. Don’t let your guard down. However, every couple seems to, and you will, too. You’ll learn the hard way, but you and Bill, together with God by His grace, will be strong enough to rescue your marriage from “the weeds.”

Even in year 27 you’ll continue to grasp how necessary it is to take care of this most precious garden, your marriage.

Julie, I hate to tell you this on your wedding day, but you’re not going to be the perfect wife.

Even though you want to be. Even though you think you’ll be. You’re going to mess up. You’ll do things and say things that’ll hurt your husband. You will also get hurt. But, God has taught you to forgive each other, and you will. Be sure to forgive yourself.

After you become a mom, parenting will become your focus. Job changes, money issues, and additional stresses begin to appear. Happiness will be mixed with challenges. Your marriage will be tested. Days will seem long, but the years short.

God, however, has a way of making all things new.

Believe it or not, years down the road He’ll give you a desire to bicycle with Bill (yes, bicycle!) which will be the tool He uses to strengthen and transform your marriage. He’ll breathe new life into your marriage, and you’ll fall deeply in love with your husband all over again. Deeper than the love you have for him today, your wedding day. That may sound impossible, but it’s so very true. And, that kind of love is the most cherished kind of all.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

Your love story is quite amazing, Julie.

After all, God’s quite the author. He’s writing a beautiful love story for you and Bill, and the first few chapters have already been written. Today’s chapter, your wedding day, is an enchanting one. You’ll retell it to each other 27 years later, and you’ll again realize how God has blessed you both in countless ways.

Yes, God is creating a happily-ever-after life for you, Julie. So, take your father’s arm and walk down that aisle. Your love of a lifetime is up front waiting for you.

Happy Wedding Day, Julie Ann.

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