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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ode to a Naive Bride, June 14, 1985

On June 15, 1985, I was a college graduate of three weeks and a bride of 24 hours. I remember languishing poolside in Floridian bliss, humming along to the popular song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” sipping a cold drink and exchanging smiles with my groom. I didn’t want to rule the world exactly, but I did have big plans for my new married life.

When I hear the song now, I smile at the irony of the first line: “Welcome to your life; there’s no turning back ….” At 22, what did I know about a commitment to care forever—no turning back?

Occasionally, I wish I could return to June 14, 1985, and meet myself as a young bride at the back of the church. I’d whisper candidly to the young me about my expectations vs. the reality of the years ahead. If you had asked me then if I understood the scope and weight of my vows, I would have said yes, but I didn’t really.

Being in love didn’t prepare me for those first grocery shopping ventures when I plopped favorites into the cart, and he promptly removed them. I didn’t know that without due warning he would change my radio stations. Who knew we’d spend 22 years disagreeing about how to mow the lawn? And how could I have known that he had a sleeping disorder? Or (and this still puts a chill up my spine) that we would have kids with sleeping disorders? I didn’t understand that he couldn’t be “everything” for me. After all, he was the love of my life, with emphasis on “my.”

And that poor groom--he didn’t know the half of his bride’s self-centered capacities. He didn’t know his fun-loving girlfriend would be so uptight about clothes on the floor and dust on ceiling fans. How could an affectionate girlfriend neglect to meet her husband when he walked through the door after work each night? And how did she manage to break so many things weekly? Imagine his confusion about a wife who six months into marriage began daily afternoon naps that merged into nights. Had he married a narcoleptic? No, the power naps were due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, and he would be a dad in only his second year of marriage.

Who knew?

God did. He knew we would go through seasons of joy alternated with frustration, depression, family deaths, disappointment in each other and in ourselves. But by the grace of God who remained faithful to us when our commitment has lagged, and through the support of church family and friends, we stand together twenty-two years later.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Three strands: God, my husband, and me.

At times, the cord frayed but didn’t break, because ultimately, we love God and value who we are as a couple and a family more than we love our individual selves. Not because we’re noble or martyrs but because God’s spirit in us “grew” this counter-human commitment to something bigger than ourselves as individuals. Based on statistics, it’s a safe bet that without positioning our marriage and family on his principles and grace, we wouldn’t be together today.

A line in the aforementioned songs says, “There’s a room where the light won’t find you/holding hands while the walls come tumbling down/When they do I’ll be right behind you ….” In the tropical sun of 1985, I wouldn’t have believed that darkness could ever threaten us. But by banding together when it came and walls fell, we defended each other when one was weaker. And when we were both tired, our anchor strand was strong enough to get us through.

I am not as naïve about life and expectations anymore. I do know that when my husband is pushed, I’ll be right behind him, supporting him. When walls tumble, I’ll be right beside him holding his hand.

And even if I could time travel and enlighten myself about the triumphs and trials to come, I’d trust in the outstretched hand of my groom at the altar, squish my puffy dress through the vestibule, and confidently meet him there—no turning back.

Please visit my personal blog at 2nd Cup of Coffee.

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Anonymous Barbara H. said...

Funny how we think we know what marriage is all about beforehand and feel fully ready to meet it. It shouldn't surprise us that our spouse can't be everything to us, but I think we are all hit with that realization with surprise and dismay at first until we refocus on Christ.

This is beautifully written, Linda, and captures all of that perfectly.

June 14, 2007 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


This post is awesome. It IS our commitment to something bigger than ourselves. The only way a good marriage becomes a great marriage.

Powerful! Thank you!

June 14, 2007 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Mindy said...

This is so sweet! Thank you Linda for reminding me something else I have to be thankful for....=)

June 14, 2007 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

This was beautiful Linda, and perfectly timely for me as our anniversary is on the 18th.

June 14, 2007 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Taya said...

This was absolutly wonderful to hear! I will be getting married in September and already God has been revealing just how much we need Him! Thanks so much for the encouragement!

June 14, 2007 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Connie Barris said...

This was beautiful..

what a tribute to our Papa... and to your marriage...

thank you

June 14, 2007 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Deena said...

Amen...I can't begin to count the storms we've weathered, but we kept our eyes on God, and now we're coming up on 22 years...and I wouldn't have missed a thing!!

June 14, 2007 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

I really appreciated that. There has been so much water under the bridge, including the deaths of two of our children. We have been committd to God, our marriage, each other. Nothing can really prepare you for your future except trusting in God. On our first anniversary we sat at the table and just stared at each other in disbelief! As hard as certain times have been, I would never have wanted to live my life without my husband. We'll have been married 27 years in August.

June 14, 2007 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

This was so precious, may God continue to bless your marriage dear one.

June 14, 2007 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

Very insightful post--enjoyed reading it. Life, indeed, turned out much different than I thought (and I was a bit naive at first, too) but God really took care of us.


June 15, 2007 at 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was so lovely. I'm an unmarried woman and this is a welcoming message amidst a sea of negative secular suffocation about marriage.

June 16, 2007 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I love how you said our spouses can not be our 'everything'...It is too much pressure to put on an individual to meet all our hubby is so glad I figured this one out! :))


June 18, 2007 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I love how you said our spouses can not be our 'everything'...It is too much pressure to put on an individual to meet all our hubby is so glad I figured this one out! :))


June 18, 2007 at 12:18 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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