We celebrated 23 years of marriage on Saturday.
(Wow… the years have sped by lighting-fast.)
The time we spent together over the weekend allowed me to pause and ponder and reflect on these years. On the bride I was. On the hopes and plans and dreams we had. On where God might take us in the future.
I wish I could have known then, what I know now.
About life. About marriage. About my husband. About myself.
To the bride I was 23 years ago:
Today is the day. The one you’ll remember forever. You’ve planned it for months. With the perfect dress, the perfect flowers, the perfect people. Nothing is out of place. (Except for choosing a church without air conditioning on a hot, humid summer day, and you’re wearing a long-sleeved, satin dress! What were you thinking??)
But today is much more than just “your” day. It’s the day you and your husband enter into a covenant agreement with God. It’s when “what God has joined together, let no one separate,” will commence. It’s the day you’ll begin to cherish your husband “until death do us part.” Oh, what a glorious day!
Be forewarned, however. There will be days when that’s not going to be easy. There will be days and weeks, and possibly even months, when you two will have to fight for your marriage. Times of testing will come. Temptations to give in will be stronger than you can handle on your own. You won’t be the perfect wife. You may fail and falter and not cherish so well.
But keeping God in the center, where He belongs, you’ll have a solid Rock to stand on. The cord of three stands will not easily break. You’ll, together, turn tough corners. You’ll scale rough terrain. Your path will be lit, even through the darkness. Keep your eyes straight ahead, focused on the One Who is leading you.
Your husband will be your biggest encourager. He’ll love you like no other could. He’ll accept you for who you are, and won’t try to change you. When he tells you you’re beautiful, believe him. You’ll realize you need him, his help, his guidance, his leadership. Allow him to lead you and your family. But continue to pray for him daily. He needs your love, respect, and honor. Don’t be so selfish, and stubborn. Give when you don’t feel like giving. Love when you don’t feel like loving. Keep your mouth shut when you feel like yelling. Be gracious, and forgiving.
You’ll bring into this life two beautiful children. In doing so, your love for each other will expand and multiply. You’ll raise them according to God’s standards, not the world’s. Being a mom will be the toughest, yet most rewarding job you’ll ever have. Your parenting decisions won’t be popular with some, even with your children at times. But you’ll see the fruit of your efforts as these beautiful children grow into adulthood. They may never know you’ve prayed for them daily. But God knows. And He answers.
You’ll beautifully renew your wedding vows in year 20. Your husband will be in a biking accident in year 21 that will rock your world, but together and with God, you’ll come through it. In years 21 and 22 you’ll ride RAGBRAI together on a tandem bike. (Yes, believe it or not!) This will impact your marriage more than you expect… you’ll do it for your husband, but you’ll be the one changed most by the experience.
And as you celebrate year 23, you’ll see your husband in ways you’ve never seen him before. Your love for him will be sweeter, stronger, deeper. Growing old together will be even better than you anticipated it to be. And you look forward to doing so all the more.
Thank God for this blessed day, the day you marry your love of a lifetime. It’s going to be a great day, and an even better life. Don’t take a moment of it for granted. God knew what He was doing when He put you two together. Celebrate that every day.
I celebrate what God has done in this bride’s life, in our marriage, in our family, in our lives together. It hasn’t been a perfect journey, but it’s been blessed by the One Who created it. Thank you for stopping in and allowing me to share a bit of our celebration with you.
Linking up with two beautiful spaces today… Purposeful Faith for #RaRaLinkup and Holley Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday. Stop by and visit to be encouraged.
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What a stunning post and witness to your marriage! How deeply I appreciate the honesty and how hard marriage can be, but how beautiful..the trials we face, the challenges we meet, the children we raise.. how could we ever possibly do it without God? I’m stumbling through it all, but get so much from women like you who have gone before me! visiting from #TestimonyTuesday next door!
Hi Kathy! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head… “how could we ever possibly do it without God?” Amen. We couldn’t have gotten to 23 years without Him. No way. Keep doing what you’re doing, keeping God in the center of it all. He’s creating a beautiful story in you! Thank you for stopping over. I appreciate you being here. Bless you!
Happy Anniversary, Julie!
Beautiful letter to yourself. I can relate in several of your little stories. So true that the love grows sweeter. Maybe it’s because of the tough things you navigate together and what it takes to stay together through it. God is good!
Thank you, Dianne! God is so good. I appreciate you sharing in our joy!
Julie – I enjoyed reading your words – aren’t life’s lessons precious? Congratulations on 23 years, and may you have at least 23 more – to love even fuller and deeper, and appreciate each other even more. Blessings to you and your family!
Thank you, Janet. Life lessons are precious. God bless you, friend!