Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
“Haven’t you read,” (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” — Matthew 19:4-6
He’s getting ready to leave for Afghanistan—so this young couple decided to move their wedding date up to accommodate the deployment status. They made it an intimate family ceremony which reminded me of our EorP posting: “WWII and Beyond—A Story of Commitment.” In that article we read about Eugene and Louise who, seventy years ago, got married under similar circumstances. Two days later Eugene left for 3½ years of front-line duty in Germany before returning home in 1945. In 2011 this new young couple seems just as committed and in love.
Given the quick announcement I didn’t have much time to work on a suitable wedding gift for Ben and his bride, but I knew that I wanted to give them a copy of “The Wedding Prayer”—from yet another Excellent or Praiseworthy posting. I decided to print it out with some embellishments and frame it. I hoped there were words in this old but timeless prayer which would encourage them during the challenging days of geographic separation which they face:
“O God of love, Thou hast established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Thine was the plan and only with Thee can we work it out with joy. Thou hast said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helpmeet for him.” Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Our burdens now are halved since when we share them, we divide the load.
“Bless this husband. Bless him as provider of nourishment and raiment and sustain him in all the exactions and pressures of his battle for bread. May his strength be her protection, his character be her boast and her pride, and may he so live that she will find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
“Bless this loving wife. Give her a tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in Thee. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.
“Teach them that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting and joining hands to serve Thee. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things shall be added unto them.
“May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to Thee. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s points of comeliness and strength, and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes.
“Now make such assignments to them on the scroll of Thy will as will bless them and develop their characters as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough of failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Thine, and enough of success to make them sure they walk with God.
“May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “Out of all this world you have chosen me.”
“When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now still hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve Thee happily, faithfully, together, until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of God. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Great Lover of Our Souls. Amen.” (from Rev. Dr. Louis Hadley Evans)
Thanks to Facebook, we got to see Ben and his bride’s wedding pictures soon after the service at our local church. He so handsome in uniform, she so smiling and radiant . . . facing an unknown future but full of hope and joy in the moment.
As I looked at the pictures I remembered the Scripture I wrote in the devotional book we gave them. It is our favorite marriage verse because it captures all of the truth necessary for a fulfilling Christian marriage—exactly what we hope for them:
From Colossians 3:12-15: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Our hearts go out to our friends and all newlyweds who are starting their lives together while serving during this war on terror. We are so proud of you . . . and wish you God’s blessings in your life together.
Questions to Share:
1. What do you remember about your wedding day? Do you remember a prayer said that day?
2. What were your hopes and dreams that day? Have any of them changed?