I know that it’s hard for a lot of men to write their own wedding vows. I also know that most women want their husband to write his own wedding vows. Lucky for all of God’s children, He already knew all of this and wrote some in the Bible for all the men to be able to go off of. How stinkin’ sweet of our Heavenly Father!
Where are these vows, you ask? Well, these gems of scripture are found in Hosea 2:19-20:
“I will take you to be My wife forever. I will take you to be My wife in righteousness, justice, love, and compassion. I will take you to be My wife in faithfulness, and you will know Yahweh.”
In this passage from the Bible God is talking about His people, Israel. He is talking about renewing His covenant with them, despite their unfaithfulness to them. Why? Because God loves His people. And He forgives. And He loves faithfully.
Now, if a husband loves his wife according to the Bible, he will love her as much as Jesus loves the Church (i.e. as much as God loves His people). Thus, these vows should work quite nicely — and it should be what marriage should always embody: a forever kind of love, a righteous love, a relationship rooted in justice, compassion, faithfulness, and God at the center.
There you go, bachelors out there! Here are some vows sure to make your Christian wife-to-be swoon.
…in a tennis game, but on Valentine’s Day (and in life) it’s a whole different story.
There’s a lot of talk about love and even more so in the month of February. Think about it. Go into Target and you are instantly met with graphics of pink and red hearts with some sort of phrase about love or that “someone special.” (Sidenote: You are all someone special. You don’t need a significant other to validate that. They just help remind you when you forget it.)
People think that for one day, their “love” can be shown through heart shaped candies, overstuffed teddy bears, candle-lit dinners, and large romantic gestures because, hey, the calendar says that on February 14th you’re suppose to actually live out that whole love thing. Lucky for all of us, we’re told how to “love” on Valentine’s Day, too.
It breaks my heart every year to see friends of mine and acquaintances who feel so negatively about Valentine’s Day. We all have (or some of you are) that friend who has been single for so long they have forgotten to believe in real love anymore. Or, there’s that friend who will choose the worst guy/girl possible to spend Valentine’s Day with because they are afraid to be alone. Then there are the friends who, from past relationships and more battle scars on their hearts than many of us can imagine, are not sad on Valentine’s Day , but rather bitter. And overly critical of any and all relationships of their loved ones. Still yet, there are the newly hurt hearts who long for the idealistic love that media has come to portray through Valentine’s Day. Oh, and can’t forget the “I don’t know why I am single” friends who try to act too cool for relationships and love. (Sidenote: You aren’t that cool. Next time you ask the rhetorical question of ‘seriously, what is wrong with me?’ I sincerely hope a friend or family member loves you enough to answer that. It’s for your own good.)
It also kills me to see friends who really buy into the whole one-day love of Valentine’s Day. I know those girls who will purposefully date a man right before Valentine’s Day just to get attention on that day and presents. Or, there are always the newly-formed couples who think that saying “I love you” just feels right on Valentine’s Day…despite the fact that they have only known each other a matter of three or less weeks. Let’s not forget the ‘we’re not together but let’s be together today’ couples who have broken up and been put back together more times than a preschool puzzle. Just say no.
So who are the real winners on Valentine’s Day (aside from the jewelry, flower, and candy markets)? I’ll tell you: the ones who treat that day as any other day in their life-long love story, just with an extra reminder or two of the love that is shared. The couples who are long-standing, who believe in marriage and keep it holy, who fight for love against daily life and hold one another in the winner’s circle every single day. The real winners are the couples who know that love isn’t always sweet like heart-shaped candies, elegant like diamonds, or vibrant like flowers, but know that it is always worth it.
The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the couples who know what it means to fight for love. The real winners on Valentine’s Day are those who understand that there are no easy buttons. The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the ones who have had issues and refuse to give up because, well, they couldn’t imagine life without their significant other – and wouldn’t want to. The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the couples who hold on to one another instead of trading one another in for something else or someone else. The real winners on Valentine’s Day are those who understand one simple fact, and have given all of themselves within that understanding: love is sacrifice.
The real winners on Valentine’s Day are, also, those who have yet to find that romantic, long-lasting, never-giving-up love but can be joyful and genuinely happy for those who have. The real winners go on to include the widows who spend the day without the presence of the person they vowed to love forever, but never spend a day without cherishing the memories. Finally, the real winners on Valentine’s Day must include those who have been hurt, scarred, rejected, and crushed but have yet to give up.
Don’t give up, buttercup.
Be a winner this Valentine’s Day.
You are lovely. You are loved. You were made to love and be loved.
Here’s a topic I never talk about since it hits just a little too close to home — right smack in the middle of my childhood home, actually. I am in no way looking for pity in this post. I am simply stating my opinion and my truths from experience with divorce.
I hate divorce.
I just really hate divorce. I’m not saying that to condemn any of you who have been through that struggle. In fact, I’m sure anyone who has been through a divorce either as one getting the divorce or one deeply affected by it (i.e. a child from the marriage) would agree with my hatred.
I learned at a young age of 8 what divorce was: ugly. Divorce was the reason my sisters and mother and I moved out of our house and in with my grandparents for a few months. Divorce was when I could no longer come home to Mommy and Daddy. Divorce was when every holiday ended up being a systematic custody question — which parent had you last year on Thanksgiving? Whose turn was it to have you this year? Divorce was when I was taught that maybe love really doesn’t last forever, after all.
You see, when you grow up watching Disney movies where the princess always got her prince, or everyone always ended up happily ever after you get the idea in your head that love is a fairytale. You believe that when two people are in love they get married and live happily together forever. When you watch a divorce between the very two people designed to teach you about love (your parents), you come to recognize fairytale love stories are for the movies. Real life love and marriage isn’t a cake walk. There are no lovey-dovey music soundtracks for every step of the way. And sometimes, just sometimes, people cannot seem to remember why they were once so perfectly in love. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Sometimes marriages die.
That is what divorce is: death of a marriage. Even more so, I view divorce as death of a once beautiful love story. And again, I will reiterate: I hate divorce.
More importantly than what I hate is what God hates, and I believe that God hates divorce. You see, divorce is broken promises– between one another and between the couple and God. I can’t, in the depths of my heart, believe that God enjoys or is okay with us breaking our promises to Him or to one another in His name (the whole “by the power vested in me by the state of ________ and God the Father, I now pronounce you husband and wife” thing). I believe it makes Him sad. I believe it makes Him angry. I believe it makes Him hurt. For us.
Divorce is the abandonment of a promise to love someone forever no matter what circumstance may present itself. I hate abandonment, so naturally I again hate divorce.
I refuse to ever have a divorce. Seriously, if future hubby and I get to where we are in constant discontentment being together, we will actively petition the Lord, go to counseling, and work it out. But I’m not worried about that because whomever I do actually end up saying “I do” to will be completely and utterly tailored for my heart and mine for his.
I am so, so, SO happy that God never abandons us, even after we act wickedly. I am so, so, SO thankful that God is faithful to His promises — no matter what situation we create and no matter what we say or do. I am so incredibly joyful that His faithfulness is not dictated by our actions or emotions. I am so undeserving of His love and faithful promises, yet I relish in them.
For all of you who hate divorce as much as I do and for all of you who have been touched in one way or another by it, take heart that you have a Creator who does not break promises He makes to you, who remains faithful even when we are wicked and unfaithful, who chose you and promises to love you forever because He is who He is.
Nehemiah 9:31 says, “However, in Your abundant compassion, You did not destroy them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and compassionate God.” Nehemiah 9:33 says, “You are righteous concerning all that has come on us, because You have acted faithfully, while we have acted wickedly.”
Want to know a secret? I’m crazy enough to still believe in that fairytale love, after all. God shows me it can be real, so I’m going to trust Him.