Our hands joined above in a classic wedding photograph showing our two wedding bands, just exchanged in our ceremony, symbolize the three verbs above. Each word has a slightly different meaning, but taken together they convey strong commitments. The word “covenant” has a particular meaning in this religious ceremony since it is the same word for the promise that God makes to his people to always be present.
Rings and words are fine things, but living out all the promises takes a level of courage impossible for us without the support of our faith community and our God. In fact our minister stressed that God is the third in our marriage, the one holding it together when neither of the two of us has the ability. There has been something sustaining in this knowledge. Our marriage doesn’t just rely on two fragile, wounded, confused adults. You might say that we always knew and know that God “has our back.”
And we have had many opportunities to learn what happens when we reach the end of our capacity. Bringing children from two previous marriages together, along with the drama of one of the former marriages, put a strain on our relationship from the beginning. Fortunately, not only had we promised to stay faithful to each other, the congregation had also publicly vowed to be there for us. We spent many prayer times with fellow congregants working through the strains which came from our pasts.
I realize that in these posts about my marriage I am stressing the religious aspects. They are the underpinning for us. Perhaps “love never fails” in the abstract, but it certainly can falter in the real. For the many times when the feeling of love was absent, the deep reality of our love came back to us as we prayed with others for our marriage. For us the love of God is the constant we rely upon.