This past August, my husband, Jack, and I celebrated 25 years of marriage!
A good friend of mine was at my house one day and since the guest bathroom was occupied, I told her to use mine. She came out of my bathroom laughing and holding a picture frame. Years ago, I framed our wedding vows and hung them in our bathroom. I know that might seem strange but it seemed like a good place to hang them since we would see them daily and not many others would see them at all.
Back to my friend: I was sort of taken aback that she was laughing at my wedding vows – especially in light of the fact that my husband and I had written them ourselves.
One sentence of my vows says, “I will strive to be a sensitive, gentle and Godly wife.” I think that is what made my friend grab the picture off of the wall and carry it into my living room laughing hysterically.
That moment was brought back to my mind the other day when I was mowing. That’s right. I was mowing. And I wasn’t just sitting on a riding lawnmower going around the yard. I was using the push mower and was shoving it into the wooded area that surrounds our yard – all the time watching out for snakes in the deep grass. It was nearly 100 degrees. I was hot and very sweaty. But the yard needed to be done and my husband was travelling.
It’s not uncommon for me to tackle yard work. (That’s probably why my husband gave me advice on the best way to remove the stumps if I decided to cut down the dead trees while he was out of town.) I’ve built cabinets and installed them. I’ve patched sheetrock, dug postholes and replaced a toilet’s wax ring.
Not exactly the image of a “sensitive, gentle and Godly” wife. I’m also not very good at saying, “Yes, Dear” and “Whatever you think, Sweetheart.” In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever said those phrases. My personality is a wee bit stronger than that. (Read with sarcasm dripping.)
So, after 25 years of marriage, have I failed in keeping my vows? Yes and no. Yes, in that I am not always sensitive to my husband. Or gentle. Or Godly. No, for two reasons. The first reason is that that sentence begins, “I will strive.” I am striving and will continue to strive. (See why I need my vows hanging in my bathroom?)
The second reason that I believe I haven’t failed completely regarding my wedding vows is this: the sentence goes on to say …”and with His strength and guidance, I’ll stand with you through everything. I will laugh with you and share your happiness, but, as well, I’ll comfort you in your sadness…” and “I will be your helpmate.”
My husband and I have laughed a lot throughout the years. He has a wonderful sense of humor and I can be funny at times too – even if my teenagers don’t think so.
But more importantly than the laughter, because that is easy, is the “comforting in sadness.” Jack’s parents died three years into our marriage and I comforted him during that time. We buried our only son in the seventh year of our marriage. I comforted him then (and now, because one never really gets over that.) We faced – and are still facing – those tumultuous teen years and we comfort each other at those difficult times.
During the first 25 years of marriage, have I been a “sensitive, gentle and Godly” wife? Not like I should have been. But was I a “helpmate?” Yes. Did I laugh and cry with Jack? Yes.
Here’s to the next 25 years! I vow to strive to be a “sensitive, gentle and Godly’ wife. But right now, I need to get up in the attic, climb out onto the rafters and adjust the dampers to improve the airflow in Jack’s office.
I’m not joking about that!
The Lord God said it is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helpmate suitable for him. Genesis 2:18