I thought I would drop into Walgreen’s and quickly and grab an anniversary card for my love. I only had a few minutes, but since my children were not in tow, I assumed that it wouldn’t take long.
It took longer than I expected.
First, I scoured the selection for “Anniversary Cards for Husbands” and began picking them up and reading them. Not finding anything that really seemed to fit, I moved on to “Anniversary Cards for Us.” Again, I was disappointed by the cheesy prose and lousy use of language. I put back card after card knowing that this one wasn’t right and that one was simply wrong.
I left the store frustrated and empty-handed. Not that I mind making my man a card, but I really thought I could have simply added my own thoughts to a store-bought sentiment. His love language is “Words of Encouragement” so I already knew that I would want to make whatever I bought personal to speak to our 20 years of marriage.
In the couple of hours that have passed, I have realized why none of the greetings cards worked. They ALL left out the third and the most important member of our marriage covenant to each other. All the cards were void of any mention of the God who made my groom, Wally, and I one.
In many of the cards, the gushing words, while extremely sincere, communicate a huge amount of responsibility onto the spouse. Our husbands are never meant to “complete us,” “be our rock,” or “the source of all our happiness.” If I approach my man this way, I am asking him to fulfill a role in my life that only God can. If I do this, he is set up to fail and I am poised to be disappointed.
But when I find my completion, my rock and my happiness in God, I free Wally to be the man God created him to be – not some impossible, super-human facade I have concocted in my dreams. And freeing Wally from those expectations, God has given me an Ephesians 3:20 husband – he is immeasurably more than I could ever ask for or imagine.
God, through Wally, has changed my definition of who a husband is and what a husband does.
Marriage, between a man and a woman, was God’s design from the very start of creation. Making both in His image, the groom and the bride have unique and important roles to fulfill. Our society and culture through the generations of my family and media-hyped fairy tales, led me to expect Wally to be and do things in particular ways. These expectations of mine made our first couple of years of marriage really rough on both of us.
Yet, God’s grace is SO good.
As HE has grown us to be more like Him, HE has grown us closer together. When we are each individually focused on Him, HE reinforces the bond between the three of us.
Our marriage is what it is not because we gutted it out or did anything on our own. Our marriage is good because of the way God has worked in us. We have seen 20 years together because of what God has done and what He continues to do. It is His provision and His protection.
Marriage itself is intended to be symbolic of Jesus and His relationship with His Bride, The Church. By asking God to intervene and protect our marriage, we are inviting God to be Lord over it. By protecting and growing our marriage, God is protecting and proclaiming Jesus’ reputation and relationship with The Church. When Wally and I are both pursuing God’s will, God will make sure He is glorified in our marriage relationship.
None of the cards I read acknowledged these truths.
I wanted to buy a card that thanks my husband for the way he pursues God, for the way he points me to God and for the way he personifies God the Father to our daughters.
This is what we celebrate when we go out to eat for our anniversary. We remember what God has done for us. We thank Him for how He has provided and protected. We dream about the plans He has for us. We acknowledge His crucial role in our marriage.
Maybe there were no cards that “fit” for our anniversary because too many couples are lacking this sustaining third Person in their marriages?
There is no secret to our marriage. It is our shared prayer that our relationship will only loudly proclaim God’s goodness and grace. In the ups and through the downs, may He alone be shown in the love story He is writing with our lives.
I will write Wally. I will give him my thoughts on our anniversary. I will be sappy and share an inside joke or two with my best friend. I will make sure he feels appreciated and valued. But my words to him will be laced with how God has, is, and will continue to sustain us.
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