What Did I Say At My Wedding?

Brock and Jackie Declaring Their Vows

Do you remember your vows? Usually a bride and groom are so focused on all of the other activities surrounding the wedding the vows get lost in the stream of activity. Family, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, an evening with the guys/girls, minimal sleep, getting ready for the wedding (hair? make-up?), photos, MORE family and friends, trying to remember what to do and say, concentrating on not tripping or fainting, being mesmerized at how amazing your spouse-to-be looks.

Then there were all the components of the wedding—the processional, prayer, being given away, the charge, scripture music, vows, rings, candle, kiss, pronouncement, recessional, reception…you get the idea. And tucked in all of that were the vows. What did you commit to before God and man? Did you simply repeat after the person officiating? Did you write your own vows?

The Purpose of Vows

We had the privilege to go to the wedding of Brock and Jackie pictured above. Brock is the son of dear friends of ours. He and Jackie chose to write their vows and read them to each other. Tears were flowing around the room as they read their personalized commitments to each other, recommitted their relationship to Jesus, and pledged their faithfulness for the rest of their lives.

Vows are really a covenant that is made between a man and woman before God to remain true and faithful no matter how the circumstances may change. The late Lew Smedes wrote, “ My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed—and each of the five has been me.”

The point is, nothing stays the same in marriage and neither do we. What remains constant is our vow–our covenant–to stay committed and faithful to our spouse.

“What if I don’t remember my vows?”

  • When we are at a wedding like Brock and Jackie’s, we will quietly repeat the vows to ourselves, renewing our commitment to one another via the ceremony.
  • Maybe you pull out the video, DVD or tape listen to what you said and write them down.
  • Perhaps you have a renewal of vows ceremony at a significant anniversary date.
  • You could write new vows to each other and set up a special date night to say them—perhaps with friends present, or your small group.
  • We spoke at an inner city church on marriage and at the conclusion of the service the pastor invited couples to re-do their processional and he led them in a renewal of their vows (see picture below)
Renewal of Vows Ceremony

Renewal of Vows Ceremony

Sample Vows

If you aren’t sure what you covenanted, or you desire renew your vows to each other, here are three sample vows that may be helpful for you and your spouse to repeat to each other. Remember the covenant you made and continue to make as you build your marriage!

I, ______, take thee, ______, to be my wedded (husband/wife). And I do covenant before God and these witnesses, to be thy loving and faithful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and serve, for as long as we both shall live.

I, ___, take you ___, to be my wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’til death do us part: according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge you my love and faithfulness.

I love you ___ as I love no other. All that I am I share with you. I take you to be my (husband/wife) through health and sickness, through plenty and want, through joy and sorrow, now and forever.

What would you include in your vows today that you didn’t say then? Keep your commitments before God and others as you build your marriage!

Did I Marry The Wrong Person?

Getting Married Fingers Crossed

Tweet: Bldg Blk: Feelings change for a myriad of reasons, but commitment is an act of the will no matter what. Love ur spouse with commitment!

“Did I marry the wrong person?”

Have you ever asked yourself this question? The triggers that bring this to the forefront of our minds—and perhaps even into a conversation with a close confidant—are varied. The question:

  • Can fly into our minds during a heated conflict
  • Shows up during a season of marital boredom
  • Creeps in when our spouse refuses to love us as we desire to be loved (touch, words, gifts, etc.)
  • Presses in when romance and sex no longer are a regular part of our marriage
  • Pummels us after a significant betrayal
  • Lurks when we allow ourself to think back about an old “flame” and miss the feelings we experienced back then
  • Slips into our thoughts out of nowhere

The Second Question

The question, “Did I marry the wrong person?” has to be followed up with a second question: “Should I even allow myself to ponder this?”  Frankly, we don’t believe anyone should second guess their spousal choice. In fact, we would go so far as to say that as soon as the question arises, it should be rejected and fought against because it does not come from God.

Instead, we believe that this question is designed by the Enemy of marriages. We believe that he wants to weaken your foundation of faithfulness. We believe that he wants to deaden your determination to fight for your marriage. The Enemy of your marriage wants you to give up, walk away, and look for someone “better” so you can be “happy.”

Finding the Answer

We believe that you did not marry the wrong person. Your spouse may have made sinful choices which have future consequences on your marriage–that’s a different issue. But once you each declared your vows “for better or for worse, till death do us part” there is no longer any second-guessing if you married the right person. Instead, claim the promise in the Bible that “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), fight for your marriage, and…

  • You take responsibility
  • You do what you did when you fell in love
  • You pray for God’s direction
  • You pray for stamina and perseverance
  • You keep your integrity
  • You read books, grow as a person and as a spouse
  • You guard your heart from bitterness
  • You keep walls from building in your spirit toward your spouse
  • You remember your vows before God, family and friends

And remember that you married the RIGHT person as you build your marriage!

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Reunited!

Nana and Heidi at her 101st birthday party!

On September 9th, 2013, Heidi’s grandma went to be with Jesus. Nana, as we called her, was one of the most godly and loving women we’ve ever known. Her kindness, generosity, sweet spirit, and love for what was good and right were contagious. She impacted her entire family and touched the lives of everyone who knew her.

Nana was married for 38 years to the love of her life, Elmer (Papa). They raised their daughter, traveled, and shared a partnership in life and love. When she was just 60, they were on their way back from the National Prayer Breakfast and in a connecting airport Elmer suffered a fatal heart attack.

Elmer and Nedra in the early 1930s. (Notice the hand holding!)

Elmer and Nedra in the early 1930s. (Notice the hand holding!)

There’s nothing wrong with remarriage, but Nana couldn’t imagine ever marrying anyone else. Elmer was the love of her life. For the next 42 years she kept his picture in her room, spoke of him longingly, and looked forward to seeing him again. And now, in the presence of Jesus, they are reunited. If you did the quick math, Nana lived just over 102 years!

What is it that kept her heart tied to her husband for 42 years after marriage? Think about it: no touching, no words of affirmation, no gifts, no quality time, no acts of service. How did that love stay alive? Here are some qualities in their marriage that we believe brought health and vitality to their marriage:

  1. They shared a common faith in Jesus Christ. At their core beliefs they were united in hope and in purpose.
  2. They shared a sense of humor. Years after she had lost her husband, Nana would tell stories that still tickled her of things Papa would do or predicaments they got into.
  3. They traveled together. Studies have shown that couples who travel together have greater joy and intimacy in their marriage. That certainly proved true for them.
  4. They valued each other. Nana and Papa had a high regard for each other’s opinion and partnership in life.
  5. They gave generously together. Whatever they had, they shared. That life of giving and selflessness gave them a purpose and joy as they lifted up others in need.

We still miss our Nana, and yet we celebrate the life she lived and the love she modeled. Her love for her husband spanned over 80 years because of the five key pillars they built into their marriage.

Which of these qualities do you want to work on as you intentionally build your marriage?

Fruit of the Spirit in Marriage: Self-Control

Self-Control

The lack of self-control exhibits itself before a child can talk, but it doesn’t take too many months before we hear: “I want to eat NOW!” “MINE!” “I want that for ME!” Every parent, aunt, uncle, pre-school teacher and even grandparent has watched little children exhibit self-centered, me-first, impatient behavior.

As adults, we see children behave without self-control and think, “When they’re mature like us they won’t act like that.” But many marriages flounder and fail because the “adults” have never matured in their ability to have self-control. The marriage is made of children in adult bodies.

Why Self-Control Matters

Living without self-control is like an athlete who never denies themselves in order to train. You’ll never achieve your goal of a Christ-honoring, intimate, mutually fulfilling marriage unless you choose self-control and grow to maturity.

Maturity has been defined as the ability to put off short-term gains for long-term benefits. Self-control not only enables us to acquire the greater long-term benefits, but it leads to maturity in our marriage.

God promises that one of the evidences of His work in our lives is self-control. He offers us the inner working of His Spirit to empower us, prompt us, and guide us. It’s our failure to choose to cooperate with Him that leads to marital infancy and disaster.

Take Inventory

Where do you struggle with self-control? Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you let your thoughts run free? Do images of lust and former relationships race through your mind unchecked? Is your mind allowed to feed on things which inject impurity into your thoughts (porn, fantasy—“50 Shades…,” etc.)?
  • Do you allow your words and tone of voice to communicate messages that tear your spouse down or control them?
  • Do you choose to think the worst of your spouse’s motives and intentions? Do you focus on their faults?
  • Do you over-eat? Over-drink? Over-spend? Over-work?
  • Do you under-exercise and need to pursue better health for your spouse?

Whatever your key area of challenge is in self-control, confess it to God and ask for His help in empowering you to have self-control in that area. Ask daily. Ask hourly. Partner with His Spirit and you WILL see victory!

Build Your Marriage to Maturity

Every marriage—including ours—has experienced the pain of being relational infants. But pursuing maturity in your marriage is worth it as you grow in God-empowered self-control!

  • As you practice self-control FOR your spouse, you will fall more deeply in love WITH your spouse!
  • You will be modeling Jesus’ self-sacrificing love to your spouse.
  • You will be on the path to building your legacy through your marriage.
  • You will honor Jesus and reflect His love to the world through your marriage.
  • You will protect your marriage from being damaged or destroyed by self-centeredness.

And you will honor Jesus as you treasure His gift to you of your spouse as you build your marriage!