Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Swiper, No Swiping

(Now, I know we look like we're 12 here, but work with me!) This picture symbolizes something very precious to me.

Not the dress. Not the flowers (although my mom did an awesome job on them all). Not the tux. Not the candles. Not even the rings.

My marriage itself.

While we're surrounded by failing marriages, I wanted to sit and ask, "Why are we still hanging in there?" This is not to boast at all. I believe a marriage can't and simply won't work (right) unless Christ is the one who's daily piecing you back together with each other. I dare say that every marriage I've watched fail has been the ultimate product of one person or the other practicing one thing:

SELFISHNESS.

I have been tempted to practice it as well. But each time, I am prompted and convicted by the Holy Spirit to lay myself down and serve my husband. And he does the same with me. This can come in the form of small, seemingly insignificant acts such as making his lunch for him at midnight or letting me take a drive alone in the evening while he bathes the kids because he knows I've worked hard with them all day.

We live in a culture that emphasizes the first day. The wedding day. The birth day. The baptism day. But what about all the days that follow? Weddings only last an hour, maybe two with the reception following. You can only wear that dress once. And as soon as you get off that plane from your trip to Hawaii, one of you is going to look at the other and ask, "What's for dinner?"

I found our ceremony vows recently that were written by Ryan McCullah, who also officiated our wedding. When I look at the words now, I am so glad he wrote what he did, and I wish other couples were blessed enough to have Ryan and his wife Christie to counsel them and encourage them, emulating a marriage that reflects Christ.

I, Cara, take you Matt to be my beloved, wedded husband, and I do promise and covenant with God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife, in all truth and tenderness, when we have too much and when we don't have enough, when we experience joy and sorrow, when we are sick and healthy, as long as we both shall live.

Ryan's Ring Remarks:
This ring was tempered and purified in the hottest of fires in order to be formed in purity. That craftsmanship cost something. It was expensive. So too is this relationship expensive and will continue to be tempered through the passion, love, pressure, and pain of life. This ring is a beautiful symbol of the foxes that will need to be caught. The never-ending circle symbolizes the eternal foundation of love that will support this union.

Before our ceremony, I had never even heard of "foxes in the vineyard." These are mentioned in Song of Solomon. They're simply the small things that can eventually destroy a marriage: Lies. Greed. Pride. Discontent. Laziness. SELFISHNESS.

Lately, I hear "We just aren't happy anymore." "We're better off as friends." "It's too far gone." "He doesn't love me anymore." "Now there's this other man..."

FOXES.

Even Dora the Explorer knows this. "Swiper, no swiping!" she says to the FOX who is constantly stealing something of value. Surely if Nickelodeon can get this concept, God's people can, too, right?





Like Ryan said, these marriages are expensive. Don't believe me? Ask the woman who has two kids whose daddy left them for another woman, and now she works two jobs just to afford adequate food for their diets. Or the man who became passive and stopped pursuing his bride, and now she's found someone else who will pay attention to her.

I pray that we will never stop learning how to serve each other and tell Satan, "Swiper, no swiping!"

Peace of Christ to you,
Cara