Today my wife and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. We’ve been married now for a generation and a half, and the love and affection between us is stronger today than it ever has been. More than an observance of the passing of 30 years together, today I celebrate her. She is my only love, my forever soulmate, and I love her with all my heart. And the amazing thing is that she loves me the same way.
Both of us have dedicated ourselves to loving one another as best we can and trying always to put Christ in the center of our marriage. After 30 years, through His grace, we’ve built a love that will never die, a marriage that will never dissolve.
But it hasn’t always been what it is now. We went through struggles. We waded through terrible conflicts and suffered many hurtful words. There were times early on where our pride strained the very fibers of our marriage. But we stayed the course and grew stronger because of it.
Sticking with it through all the trials by fire has been so worth it – because they brought about perseverance and through perseverance, character. (Romans 5:3-4) When we entered into the holy covenant of marriage, we knew no word, ‘divorce.’ We understood that our commitment to each other before the eyes of a holy God contained no escape clause. It was permanent.
And an interesting thing about humans is that when we are faced with a situation in which there is no way out, it is in our DNA to make the best of it, to make it work no matter what. Now, I know some who read this may be suffering at the hand of an abusive spouse. Others may have already gone through the tragic experience of divorce. For you, I convey no judgment. The God who brought my wife and me together offers forgiveness and hope no matter what you are facing or what path you have walked.
On the other hand, for those brothers and sisters in Christ out there who are currently married, or not yet married, let me encourage you to see the race to the end. Remove the thought of divorce from your minds. Delete it from your vocabulary. I believe, because of the experience of my own marriage, that two people, redeemed in Christ, who begin a marriage loving each other will see that love only grow when they both believe with all they are that there is no other choice.
Leia and I still aren’t perfect, far from it, and our marriage is not without its challenges and conflicts even now. We don’t always ‘feel’ the love we share, because love is sometimes hard. But that love, that true love, never wanes. The emotion of love, while splendid, should never be mistaken for real love. True abiding love takes work, it takes determination. But when two people have gone through the process of loving one another in action (not just emotion), they emerge forever woven together.
My darling, I pray we have 30 more years to spend loving each other. You are truly an inspiration to me, and I will cherish you until I draw my last breath.