A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stand as the “best man” in a wedding. And as I was preparing the speech, it really got me thinking about my dear friend, his future bride, and what I believe God teaches us about marriage. I hope this will bless others, single or married.
The hardest part of putting something together was trying to think of what I might share – what his friendship has done in my life, details about the two of them, or even better what God is doing by bringing them together.
One thing I have observed in my friends is a type of spirit that offers more encouragement than it does criticism; strives to love rather than condemn; aims to serve over being waited on; and desires to be a team mate rather than an opponent. What a blessing to see the ways God moves in your hearts.
“The love of my life,” it’s sad that phrases like these become so common they turn cliche, the problem being that cliches are often true, and the only reason they become cheesy or sappy is because over time, they become overused. Sometimes a cliche is the best way to express what we otherwise cannot- to make known and put plainly that which burst forth from our hearts, when the words necessary to do so, feel too far away. To call someone the love of your life is not a cliche, in fact, I consider it a miracle.
But the truth, that I’m sure older married couples know too well, is how it won’t always be easy. Life tends to have a way, and in time, the heart tries to quit. Don’t let it.
It’s been my experience that the heart always follows action, when you hit the wall of unwillingness to serve and love sacrificially, commit yourself/ mind soul and body to a ruthless pursuit of grace, don’t wait for your heart to catch up, it will on its own eventually, in time it will be forced to, the heart may have a lot of pull but it never has enough say or wherewithal to keep your body paralyzed; leave your mind idle, or steal from you the ability to move towards one another in love- at least, it doesn’t have to.
I believe simple deeds often do more than large ones- it’s the day-to-day small acts of kindness that will give your marriage space to grow and flourish. I doubt that either of you has fallen in love with the other based on grand gestures- the proposal was a grand gesture, this day an even larger one, and throughout your marriage I hope every now and again there will be more grand gestures, but please, do not forget the small things- at face value grand gestures are exactly as the phrase suggests: GRAND; they are moving in nature, and very emotionally stirring but they will not sustain you when the going seems tough.
There will be seasons when the weight of life seems heavier than it ever has, during these seasons you’re marriage may feel heavy as well and it’s during those times you will both get lessons on what forgiveness truly is. Do not try to lift the weight on your own- as you feel the pains of what it takes to grow stronger it will not be the grand gestures that help you push the weight- what I hope you both remember when things seem unfamiliar, is the other person’s ability to say, “I’m sorry”; when you’re having your worst day and nothing is falling into place the way it needs to – lean on one another’s ear, remember that listening will always do more than trying to fix.
Become experts in each other’s strengths. In case I have made it sound easy I’ll add that grace does come at a cost. When you choose to forgive one another for the mistakes you are guaranteed to make you will feel pain, possibly even loss knowing that somewhere there is something that has temporarily gone missing. Maybe it takes time, but eventually forgiveness does come but the pain must be absorbed somewhere, and the choice to forgive is a choice to absorb pain for the sake of another- when these moments come, I urge you to look to the cross.
To Jesus there are no surprises; he already knows every mistake, and the choice to absorb our pain that we might be forgiven is exactly what it will take to look at your spouse when there’s been a rough break, and say, “even though I’m still hurting, in Him we’re okay. I forgive you.”
Our ability to extend grace is somewhat broken and only goes so far, but Christ’s is perfect, and He waits with open arms ready to bring the two of you closer together as you pursue Him; forgoing your independence no longer separates you, but moves you forward together as one.
When I finished sharing these words of encouragement to honor my friends, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Not only are friends and family there to support newlyweds, but when they put their trust in God, He will lead them throughout the years.