{vow}

Growing up I heard stories from different family members about how they felt on their wedding day. Most were unsettled about the step before them. You could say this was hindsight because these stories were told to me after separation and divorce, but it weighed heavily on my mind as my wedding date neared.

I wanted to break a cycle. The generational curse that I saw upon my family, a curse upon relationships, was going to end with me. That’s a lot of pressure to put upon oneself, but I felt like the alternative was worse. I knew divorce, I knew brokenness, I knew disappointment. As I prepared to stand before our friends and family, I made my own vows:

I will not disrespect my husband to his face, or behind his back. My words to him need to be honoring and life-giving. There would be no place for sarcasm and bitterness in our marriage.

I will not run when the going gets tough. My tendency to shut down, detach and give up would only hurt me in the long run. We would talk through every disagreement, walk through every trial and do the work until the situation was defused.

I will not lie to, manipulate or deceive my husband. Trust is a hard thing for me to give, and I didn’t want to ever take advantage of his.

I will not allow my marriage or our future children to be a source of resentment. I will finish school, I will learn what it means to be a wife before having kids, I will not think of my marriage or my children as a hinderance to the things that might have been. This one was important to me, because I was getting married at the age of 20. Without a doubt in my mind we were in God’s timing, but it’s easy to give in to thoughts of this nature later when life is not so romantical and rosy.

::

I stood at the doors of the chapel where so many I knew had stood before me. We’d done the premarital counseling. Our Meyers-Briggs results had been analyzed, and we knew what to look out for. Three years of dating had taught us a lot about each other; little did I realize that day how much was still unknown. Years of dreaming and months of planning had led up to that day. We felt prepared for what was ahead of us.

I waited with my dad as the bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer preceded us down the aisle. My grandma played Pachelbel on the grand piano; I remember breathing a sigh of relief at the first missed note.

“Now I don’t have to worry about mistakes.”

At that moment my marriage was shiny and new, untarnished by the pain and heartache that can so naturally accompany that level of vulnerability. Our first fight happened on our honeymoon…

“Now I don’t have to worry about mistakes.”

We stood at that altar, watching a slide show of pictures: me as a baby, Josh as a baby, us together. Babies still. We were so young to be toddling forward with uncertain steps, but we learned and our legs became strong and confident. Allowing each other to continue to mature and change as the years went by, realizing that early marriage meant who we were then would not necessarily be who we are in the future.

We listened to Josh’s sister sing:

I know there are days when you feel so much less than ideal, wondering what I see in you…if beauty is all in the eye of the beholder then I am beholding true beauty. {Geoff Moore, If You Could See What I See}

Words that hold much more meaning after ten years, five pregnancies, diminishing hair lines and expanding waistbands.

Hand in hand, face-to-face we made a covenant with one another. Through God’s grace and wisdom we have kept that covenant over the past decade, and will continue on in it till death us do part.

And then we kissed!

May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine! {Song of Solomon 1:2}

Have you made vows in your life? Vows about marriage, friendships, parenting, finances, God?

Have you had to fight to maintain those vows, or have they come easily for you?

You do not want to miss tomorrow’s post!

{Did you miss Part 1Part 2 or Part 3? If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sign up to have my posts delivered to your inbox or subscribe in a reader. You do not want to miss what’s coming tomorrow!}
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21 thoughts on “{vow}

  1. my biggest vow came several years after we were married and we were going through really rough things and the end of the marriage seemed extremely close. A pastor I was talking with simply said make sure you do all you can do to make things work. Beyond that it is out of your control. You do not want to look back and think you could have done this or that and maybe it would have worked.

    • What sound advice! We can so easily get caught up in the moment, and forget that later we may feel differently about the situation. Thank you for sharing that, Lynnette. :)

  2. Not to Jesus Juke here but I’ve had to fight for those vows. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy them forever.

    I love that wedding photo. Black and white to me is such a wonderful picture medium.

    And being unsettled before the wedding? My first one I probably was kind of unsettled. My second one I sat in the church basement watching “Rush in Rio” with Dale while we waited for everything to get underway. :)

    • So what did you do to fight for them? Was it just grim grit-your-teeth and persevere determination, or did you have resources you turned to?

      I love black and white. This is the only wedding picture I have a digital copy of. It’s one that my mother-in-law took and then photocopied. I scanned it and uploaded it to our computer years ago. Isn’t it crazy how videography and photography have all gone digital in the last few years? None of my stuff was digital. Haha!

      • Mostly grit my teeth and dig in kind of determination. Lots of prayer. I’m sure there are resources out there but in the end it’s about keeping myself in line with vows made to her and God. I use the Word as my strongest guide there. And I’m not perfect. I’ve screwed up many times. But I keep going and that’s also a key.

  3. I am loving this series!

    The vow to be loving is always one I’m fighting for. It’s nice in theory but SO hard to selflessly lay my feelings aside and think of others first, especially people I’m not around much or my husband…

  4. You are an inspiration to many Melissa. Those vows are so important (speaking as a man). The hardest pain you can cause a man is disrespecting him. That will feel like a dagger deep inside our hearts for quite some time. Take respect out of a man and you lose a man.

    I’m not sure that you do, but you should be leading a marriage group.

    • Thanks, Moe! :) Right now Josh and I aren’t leading any group. We do have a bunch of college age students who eat lunch at our house every Sunday after church though. That’s super fun! :)

  5. Hi, I clicked over from Dancing by the Light. This is such a good post (and I look forward to going back and reading parts 1 & 2). I love your vows, what a good reminder. Thanks for that.

  6. We got married at 20 as well (it was just one month after my birthday), but I’ve never been surer of anything. I took it to God over and over and got it settled while we were still friends and contemplating a more serious relationship. There have plenty of struggles, but I can’t imagine having to go through life without my wife and all she adds to my life and ministry. She’s amazing! Thanks Melissa.

    • Josh and I say the same. We realize how much our relationship has shaped who we are. I am so grateful that God brought him into my life at such a young age. I love the history we have together and all of the special moments he was able to be a part of. And, having read some of your wife’s words…she is amazing! :)

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  8. Congrats on 10 years, Josh and Melissa!!

    I got married when I was 20, and Mike was barely 21. How many more things can we have in common? :)

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