It doesn't seem possible. Twenty years ago on April 28, Steve and I exchanged marriage vows and were declared husband and wife. It was a balmy day according to Michigan standards, with high, filmy clouds - the kind that allow the sunlight to filter through, but keep you from squinting. I remember being nervous as I waited in the church vestibule with my Dad. He whispered some reassuring words, letting me know that he was every bit as nervous as I was. The music started and the rest is a memory that we captured on tape. Yes, tape, after all, it was twenty years ago!
Rewind thousands of years ago to a beautiful, tranquil place. The garden of Eden. God was up to something. Take a closer look at His plan: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him...And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:18,21-24; KJV).
Marriage was instituted by our Creator, God. All those years ago, He knew that man and woman would complete each other in a way that would bring Him more honor and glory than they could individually. As I consider my marriage, I am so grateful for the wisdom of His plan. My husband, Steve, provides the security and balance that I need on a daily basis. I do my best to provide the encouragement and support that he needs. We've shared good times and trials, laughter and tears, over the twenty years.
In our 'me'-centered culture, vowing to stick with someone for a lifetime goes against our grain. Our feelings become more important than our promises. But God's word is clear, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). Our marriage is to be a beautiful picture of Christ and His bride, the church. The husband represents Christ, and the wife represents the church. Each are given roles which point to Christ when properly fulfilled.
Look at the job descriptions Paul outlines for wives and husbands in the book of Ephesians: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" (Ephesians 5:21-25). Pretty challenging, right? Before throwing your hands up in despair and dismissing your 'job' as impossible, take a look at what is really being said.
As a couple, we're called to mutual submission. As wives, we're to willingly follow our husband's leadership as he follows Christ. The husband is to put aside his own interests in order to care for the needs of his wife. Christ's submission to the will of His Father is our ultimate example. As we submit one to another in the marriage relationship, our Heavenly Father is glorified, and others are pointed to Him.
I'm thankful for the godly man God has given me. His selfless love has pointed me time and again to my Savior. I look forward with eager anticipation to what God has for us in the years to come! I love you, Steve! Happy Anniversary!