As I have been reflecting over the last couple of days I've really wanted to put into words a few of the many things I have learned so far in our marriage. I have always found relationships to be beautifully complex. Whether a marriage relationship or a friendship. As I grow older I'm learning more and more about human interaction, how to communicate, and how to truly love others.
Danny Silk in the book Keep Your Love On writes, "I choose you.' This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation of Gods love for you." I think this is often something people forget. Relationships are work. Choosing is an act of the will. It doesn't rely on emotions or even on merit on the part of the other person. Choosing your husband every day takes intention and determination.
Instead of writing our own vows, or going with the regular standard vows, Bob and I chose to recite the vows of the Christian Reformed Church, which are very rarely used anymore (I suspect because of their taboo reference to submission... Ohhh watch out, bad word!!). Though they aren't commonly used we thought they suited us perfectly and encapsulated how we feel about the covenant of marriage. We memorized them and recited them to each other.
Bob said: I take you, Hannah, to be my wife and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful husband, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and give myself up for you, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.
I said: I take you, Robert, to be my husband, and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful wife, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and submit to you, as the church loves and submits to Christ. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.
I felt then, and still feel now that these words capture that act of will, the choice you make every day to choose each other. Ultimately we both need to choose each other. Things get lopsided if only one person is doing the choosing.
One of the things I've learned and am continually learning in marriage is how to communicate properly. Communicating my needs (which includes knowing my needs... Often a struggle for me) to Bob is key in feeling loved by him. I no longer expect him to anticipate or understand my needs innately and have learned to communicate these to him as best as I can. I believe this is a huge lie of society is that your 'perfect partner' will know what you need and deliver it in a timely way!
As the days and years march on in our marriage I become more greatly convinced that I will fail at loving Bob if I don't let Christ love through me. I may have been able to get by on our physical and emotional connection for the first couple of years, but with the demands of life, children, and work I know in time that this love will begin to wane, which is why I choose to pursue a greater connection. Danny Silk also writes , "When two people are cosistantly pursuing a connection with the Perfect One, that connection will set the pace for their connection with each other. They will be learning to love from Love Himself, and that can only bring the best into their relationship".
I am so thankful that Bob and I aren't in this relationship alone. That we have One greater than ourselves to teach us how to love each other. I'm thankful for truly an amazing three years and look forward with joy to all of the years to come.
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