Thursday, December 06, 2012

Follow Up

After re-reading my previous post, I thought, "That sounds hoity-toity."  And, the last thing I want to do is sound like I have it all together, dispensing wisdom from on high, a "look at how great I do the Christian life" post.  (In fact, I despise those kinds of posts).

So, let me apologize and try again.

What I meant by my critique of vows is how me-centered the whole wedding affair has become in recent years.  Of course, we all see this:  the "Bridezilla" shows would have no appeal if this weren't the case.  And, my wife's observation about the content of recent "vows" made me want to ask:  what about God?

Then, I thought about how Sheri and I came to the realization that we wanted to spend our life together.  Of course, I am attracted to her beauty, inside and out.  Of course, the thought of being with her for the rest of my life was a fantasy coming true.  Of course, I thought of the benefits of our life together.  But, when we got down to the nub of things--why are we doing this?--we believe that God put us together, that He knew better than we did that we needed each other to fulfill our destiny.

I know that may sound hollywoodish, even sentimentally trite.  Regardless, we felt this gravity, this very clear sense that God was on our side.  God called Sheri to a very specific mission within His Kingdom's work.  Me too.  And, we marvelled over how we came to see that our lives would be folded  together for that singular purpose.

There are stories to tell as to how He made that evident to us--too personal for a blog post.  But, that's what I mean when I say that we knew very clearly that we were making vows to God the day we promised we'd take care of each other.  I had already thanked God a thousand times for the gift of Sheri Kaye Richardson.  I didn't need to tell everyone why.  Rather, on the day we married, I needed to promise God that I would take care of her because I knew she was His gift to me.

So, even after over thirty-three years of marriage, every time I think about our vows, I think about God.  I promised Him that I would love her.  And, I know He heard every word.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Wedding Vows to Myself

My wife noticed a trend in wedding vows that I think is incredibly insightful.  But, before I get to that, a little context . . .

Sheri and I have been talking a lot about how younger couples are approaching marriage with a different set of priorities than we did (Boy, are we starting to sound like the "old folks," or what?).  We wanted to get married for a variety of reasons:  love, companionship, destiny, etc.  But, one of the main reasons we married was this:  we believed God put us together to make a difference for His Kingdom.  Or, in less flowery terms, the ol' "two heads are better than one" approach to living.  In other words--and this sounds more foreign these days--we owed it to God to marry.  That's why, when we made our vows on our wedding day, we believed we were making them to God as much as to each other.

Today, that doesn't seem to be the case.  At least, that's what I have seen/heard a few times and Sheri has witnessed dozens of times (she enjoys attending weddings, me not so much).  Typically, the bride and groom recite their hand-written "vows" to each other.  But, honestly, they don't sound like promises to God at all.  Rather, the "vows" go something like this:

"You are the best thing that ever happened to me.  I've waited all my life for the right person to come along.  Then there was you.  You fulfill all my dreams.  You're everything I wanted.  I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with someone who makes me feel so special." Etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

It's all about me, me, me, me, me, me, and me.

In other words, as they make their "vows" to each other, both the bride and the groom are actually making vows to themselves.  But, that is a dangerous way to start married life; those who've been married for a while see the problem. 

What happens when he stops being the guy "you've always dreamed of"?  What happens when she is no longer "the woman I always wanted"?  What will they do when the married life they think they're entitled to--a "happily ever after" tailored made to their expectations--comes apart?  Who will they go to for help, especially since God was completely "cut out of the deal"?   They made no vows to God.  What could He do for them?  They only promised themselves that they will have what they wanted.  So, what happens when a bride eventually finds out she married a bum?  What does a guy do when the "trophy wife" lets herself go?  Complaining only makes it worse.  Marriage counseling usually turns into "he's not the man I thought he was" or "I never loved her."

So, they usually decide to find someone else, you know, the guy who will meet all of her dreams, the woman who will accept him as he is.  And, so it goes . . . .

All the while I imagine the One who invented marriage, witnessing the second, third, fourth, maybe even fifth try, saying to any who has ears to hear:  "What about Me?"  Since He came up with the idea, you'd think we owe Him something.