“Marriage is glorious but hard. It’s a burning joy and strength, and yet it is also blood, sweat, and tears, humbling defeats and exhausting victories.” Tim & Kathy Keller, from The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
My wife and I celebrate eight years of marriage this week, and I am so very thankful for her. There is no earthly relationship as important than the one I share with her.
Being one who married “later” in life, I value the opportunity to experience such a joy in the discovery and wonder found within our marriage covenant. The independence that I celebrated within the single life of my 20s and 30s has been replaced by a committed, lifelong union. For better or worse, we have pledged ourselves to the other.
What a joyous freedom there is to experience such a shared and sacrificial commitment to the good of the other.
On our first Valentine’s Day as married, my wife surprised me by presenting a gift that I treasure to this day. As you can see in the above photo, the beautiful picture frame held one of our wedding photos nestled between two pieces of parchment. Each parchment contained an elegant printing of our wedding vows to each other.
We placed it on our bathroom wall that day so that we may be regularly reminded of the vows we made. I find a sense of peace and security from those promises so lovingly marked on the parchment.
Our Lord has used our marriage to profoundly change me and my perspective. I have developed into a better man, a devoted husband, and a dedicated father to our very active preschooler.
On our anniversary, I want you to know that you’re
still the one I choose,
still the one I give my heart to,
still the one I love.
I treasure the gift of our marriage,
and I celebrate the promises found
in our commitment to each other.
“I, Rodney, take you Joni to be my wedded wife.
With deepest joy I receive you into my life that together we may be one.
As is Christ to His body, the church, so I will be to you a loving and faithful husband.
Always will I perform my headship over you even as Christ does over me,
knowing that His Lordship is one of the highest desires for my life.
I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, my most tender care.
I promise I will live first unto God rather than others or even you.
I promise that I will lead our lives into a life of faith and hope in Christ Jesus,
ever honoring God’s guidance by His Spirit through His Word.
And so throughout life,
no matter what may lie ahead of us,
I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband.”
Rodney & Joni Bowen
June 3, 2006