The Audacity of Our Marriage Vows

The Audacity of Our Marriage Vows

We live in a post-fall world, a reality which affects everything we do, including marriage. It’s the union of two people who both love each other very much, but who both have a very serious and chronic problem: sin. Marriage means that two selfish ‘me’s’ have to start learning to think like one unified ‘us.’ They seek to build a new life together. And that is hard work!

When we’re young and on the cusp of so many important life decisions, we are filled with this crazy blend of courage, self-confidence, idealism, and naivete.

Take having children, for example: Did my wife and I know what to do with this seven pound human being that we took home from the hospital? Where was the instruction manual? How could we teach this child to know and love and serve the Lord?

Another example of a massive commitment that I made long ago is marriage. One fine summer’s day in 2001, Rebecca and I made our commitment to each other. I promised to love and guide her, to care for her and live with her in holiness. She promised to love and obey me, to assist me, and to live with me in holiness.

Then toward the end of those marriage vows, we both agreed to do all these important things, “for as long as we both shall live.”

Had we really thought about that line, reflected on what it actually meant?

We knew, of course, that marriage is for life, that God designed it to be a permanent bond between us. But what did we know about all the implications for the coming years? We were young, confident, idealistic, naïve.

Facing the Future

Maybe it’s just me who did these things without a firm grasp on what it all meant. Or perhaps not. If you’re married, then one fine day, ten or forty years ago, you too, made your commitment to each other, saying you’d be a faithful husband or a faithful wife, “for as long as you both shall live.”

It’s a promise that we make in a passing moment, but then we have to work with that commitment every single day, for the rest of our life. Once all the guests have gone home, you and your spouse will be living with the consequences of what you’ve done for perhaps the next 50 years.

Now, perhaps it’s good that we don’t really know what we’re getting into when we get married. When we overthink something, we get worried about all the potential outcomes and disasters. There’s a good reason that Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 not to worry.

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