Twenty

Today marks twenty years that I stood before a God I didn't know and a man I hardly knew better, and made promises I had no ability to keep. If my capacity to love was limited, my capacity to be loveable was even more so. Yet as I looked into his tear-filed eyes and took vows I couldn't comprehend, I knew the man in front of me would love me no matter what.

I had no idea how much I would need him to.

I was not a believer when I took those vows. My husband thought I was. I thought I was. Praise God, He did not leave me to my own devices. Though I had blasphemed His Name, though I had been evil and reproachful, though I had murdered Him over and over again in my heart, He saved me. He broke through my cold and dead heart with what He knew would reach it most effectively - the love of a caring, patient, godly man.

God has every means at His disposal to call His children unto Himself, and yet for me, He chose my husband; it is a gift I have often taken for granted.  Through these twenty years, my husband has faithfully practiced Ephesians 5: 25-31, even - especially - when I did not understand, when I bristled, when I did not love.

He has loved me sacrificially. There have been few times when he has put his own needs ahead of mine. He provides for our family. He's granted many of my wishes, unreasonable and demanding though they may be. He's forfeited his happiness for mine on more occasions than I can count.

He has cherished me. He tenderly cared for me after a multitude of surgeries and other health issues. He's stood by my side as we've mourned losses together. He's been faithful to tell me and to show me how much he loves me.

He has held fast to me. We've faced many obstacles over the years. He's firmly grasped my hand through each one of them, staunchly refusing to let me pry myself loose and run away when I rebelled against him.

My husband has helped me to better understand the marvelous love and grace that God has extended to me, a vile sinner. His willingness to model Christ has encouraged my willingness to do the same. His offers of love and forgiveness have precipitated mine. During these two decades of marriage, there has been no short supply of opportunities to pardon each other. There are days when the trash hasn't been taken out and dirty socks litter the floor, when clean laundry remains crammed in a basked unfolded and a frozen pizza qualifies as dinner.  The minutiae of life often require as much gospel grace as the heavier matters that weigh us down.

During a discussion about our anniversary, my girl quipped, "How have you put up with each other for 20 years? You're a handful, and he's a handful." I don't remember my retort, but the simple truth is that these two "handfuls" (translation: sinners) could persevere through marriage for two decades only because of the gospel.

A quote from Shakespeare heralded the invitation to our wedding: My love hath in't a bond, whereof the world takes note. Twenty years ago I was certain that our bond would be noteworthy, that our marriage would be a testimony to perfect love. I was right; it is. Not my husband's. Certainly not mine. God's.


Comments

  1. Beautiful. Congratulations, you two! May you have many more years together!

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  2. Lovely post, Melissa. Happy anniversary to you and R!!!!

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  3. Happy Anniversary, Melissa!

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