How can it be that 47 years has already gone by since that beautiful September 7 day in 1974? We stood blithely in front of friends and family and vowed to love each other for a lifetime. From that vantage point, the naivete and optimism of our youth blinded us to anything but happiness. Trouble, if any, would be on a far-off horizon. Innocently, we viewed the future stretched out in a wide expanse, and there would be time to think about that later.
Well, I can still feel young, but any 19 year old would not consider me that by any stretch. And life has a surprising way of throwing curves at you, twists and turns in the road that will take all the strength and resources you have to navigate. We promised to love each other through sickness and in health, poverty and riches. While we haven’t faced the sickness or poverty in extremes, there have been times of illness and times when we really needed to pinch pennies. There are different dynamics and values in our families of origin. Divisions of labour needed to be determined, complicated decisions made when the way ahead wasn’t clear.
Marriage requires you to put someone else’s needs alongside your own and sometimes ahead of your own, first for your spouse and then the tiny bundles of joy who consume your days. It requires you to grow up. It requires a full commitment to each other, a refusal to give up on each other, or to be seduced by the illusion of greener pastures. There are always competing demands of work and social obligations that can snatch away the unwary while a marriage dies for lack of attention.
The book of Proverbs pities the person who doesn’t have a companion to help them up after a fall, and how wonderful it can be when someone has your back, gives you appreciation, support and comfort. And it’s so important, in dark times, at the limit of endurance, to lean heavily on God’s love and forgiveness individually, but also as a resource to offer each other. It’s said jokingly, but it’s very true that we have loved each other through thick and thin, through sick and sin. It’s God’s faithfulness, love, and providence that has always sustained us.
When we honeymooned in Washington, D.C. in 1974, the Washington Cathedral was being built. The estimated date of completion was 1999, almost the turn of the century, and that day felt so far away.
But here we are, now, almost another 25 years later yet, having built a marriage through days, and weeks and years. And we pray that this, too, can be a beautiful testament to this presence and great love of God in and for us.
Bless This House
Bless this house, O Lord, we pray
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout
Keeping want and trouble out.
Bless the roof and chimneys tall,
Let Thy peace be over all.
Bless this door, that it may prove
Ever open to joy and love.
Bless these windows shining bright,
Letting in God’s heavenly light:
Bless the hearth ablazing there,
With smoke ascending like a prayer.
Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin;
Bless us all that we may be
Fit, O Lord, to dwell with Thee.
May H. Brahe and Helen Taylor