Somewhere between the crawfish étouffée and the bread pudding, he handed me a box. It was heavy, the size of a large book. I tore off the paper and opened the box to see navy leather and a name in silver foil, the name I would soon carry after I walked down the aisle the following day. Wrapped within that leather were the words that would carry me through the best and hardest days of my life. But, of course, I didn’t know that then.
I didn’t know those words would take us to Memphis, Tennessee, or give us friends who feel like family. I didn’t know those words would lead us to a church who would challenge us and teach us and push us. I didn’t know there would be a season when I pushed the words away because I didn’t want to confront my pride and ego. I didn’t know there would be a season when I slept with my those words beneath my pillow because of the nightmares that plagued my sleep after the miscarriages. I didn’t know those words would bring three daughters into our home, and I didn’t know those words would compel us to say yes to adoption. I didn’t know I would cry gallons of tears and write on every page and watch the spine crack from those words being splayed open day after day. I didn’t know how my marriage would change when I began praying those words for my husband over and over.
This thing we’ve forged–this messy thing called marriage, this daily choosing to break and pour–this is proof that His Word is living and active. That somehow He can take two imperfect people and tell His story of perfect Love. Maybe the cracks in the leather and the fade of the foil are the greatest indication of our first decade together.
Right now on the mantel there is a stack of family Bibles. When I open the brittle covers and turn the first gossamery pages, there is a space to record dates for marriage, births and deaths. Right there in the pages before the beginning of the Word–the Word that would become flesh for us and come to dwell with us, the Word whose body would be broken for us and whose blood would pour out for us–is a place to record and remember this covenant called marriage.
In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas says marriage is more about our holiness than our happiness. When I first read that as a newlywed, I winced. But after ten years, I’m seeing the treasure in that statement. It’s the daily break and pour with my husband that’s drawing me closer to the One who gave up everything to break and pour for me. My Savior who took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25). In this family, we have a tradition of toasting to big moments and small ones, to date nights and vacations and getting the kids in bed and also to random Tuesday pizza nights. I’ve always loved this tradition of ours, but I’ve never thought of the cup and the new covenant during our toasts. There we are with glasses raised with an invitation to remember the One whose blood poured out Love once and for all.
Happy ten years, Matt. (A few days early!) Thank you for being a tangible representation of God’s grace and forgiveness. Thank you for being a man who allows God’s Word to mold him and make him holy. Thank you for breaking and pouring every single day for me and for our children. Thank you for choosing me.