Have you ever noticed that wedding bands look a lot like tiny handcuffs?
I’m being funny. But, you have to admit, it’s an accurate description of the covenant they represent. Not the prison part…the never-leaving, never-forsaking, “death-do-us-part” part. Unfortunately, many marriages feel like a prison, because too often, our un-renewed selves get in the way of true love.
When we got married, my husband and I read these vows to one another (our own adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8):
“By the grace of God, by His mercy and His truth, I tie my love to yours.
I vow that my love will be patient and fully kind.
Jealousy shall not taint it, nor arrogance abuse it.
My love, by the grace of God, will hold you blameless;
no account against you will I keep.
My heart will rejoice in truth; it sees you with perfect eyes,
putting you first, before myself.
My heart will bear all things, believe all things and hope in all things, knowing that Love never fails.”
By the time we were fixin’ to get hitched, we were fully aware that the only way our marriage would succeed was if we fully submitted to God’s image of love. We knew that we had to get out of our own way. We knew that we couldn’t do it in our own strength. We knew we needed His. So, we made a point to acknowledge that God was the center of it all.
Since then, we’ve seen first-hand how God has honored and breathed on our promise and given us the grace to see every part fulfilled.
We’ve seen true Love, in action. Just like we vowed we would.
That hasn’t looked like “getting it right” every time, but every time there is an offense or a mistake, we believe that the other didn’t do it on purpose. We hope that it’s going to get worked out, and that things will be better than ever. It means that the slate is always clean after the mess is cleaned up. It means that even after the worst offense or shortcoming, he is my Prince Charming, and I am his “Belle,” because that’s who God says we are. So, we treat each other that way. In the process, we practice choosing to be patient and fully kind, knowing that neither has all the answers. When one of us succeeds, we both celebrate! And most importantly, we stick together.
You see, we may have slipped on the “cuffs,” by our own choosing, but God now holds the key. And, though there is no escaping this inescapable love- a bond as strong as death (see Songs 8:6) – it doesn’t feel like a life-sentence…
Our sentences now continually bring us life.