Did you know that on our wedding day he gave me a wonderful gift by memorizing his vows? Here he is, dear soul, working on it.
There was just one problem: he didn’t tell me he was going to do this. Although I had mentioned long before that I wanted to recite our vows by memory, when he expressed concern, we agreed to hold a card between us during the ceremony with our vows on each side (this avoids the endless repeating after the pastor). I can’t tell you how surprised — and momentarily panicked! — I was when he began to recite his vows without pulling out the card. I listened very, very closely, let me tell you! Fortunately, all went well. Even though I had never made the effort to memorize my vows, I discovered in the moment that I knew them by heart.
Before God, who brought us together, and before these witnesses,
I, Alison, take you, Justice, to be my wedded husband,
to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better or for worse,
for richer or for poorer,
in sickness and in health;
to love, honor, and cherish you;
to submit myself to you in all things,
and to follow you as we walk with God,
as long as we both shall live.
You have loved me tenderly, with great compassion, through much sickness in the past two years. You held my hand when I felt discouraged, pressed me closely against you when I needed hope, carried me when I could not even walk. You communicated your joy in caring and providing for me when I felt like nothing but a miserable burden.
You poured out forgiveness generously, never punishing me, though I may have deserved it at times. You sacrificed precious sleep to stay up and talk during times of difficulty or to comfort me after nightmares. You patiently let me cry over past hurts, rather than telling me to get over them. You have not been proud, but loving and flexible; you have cared more about our relationship than about being right. You were willing to change and grow.
And how you have changed and grown! My love, you are not the man I married. Sometimes I feel bewildered as I come to know you better, but I am excited that learning to know you and love you will take a lifetime. To think that years and years of discovery lay ahead of us!
I love your smile and the way your eyes soften when you look at me. I can see your love so clearly in them. It brings tears to my eyes to think of it.
I appreciate your sincerity; I feel so safe with you. Your words are those of encouragement.
I still find you funny, even hilarious. Laughing with you is one of my deepest joys.
I revel in playing with you. Hiding under the covers. Wrestling. Tickling. Dancing.
I admire you too. I admire your pursuit of God and the sincerity of your faith. I admire your love for others. I respect your integrity and your courage in doing right, even when it is uncomfortable. Watching you becoming more like Christ inspires me. How I look forward to growing closer to the Lord together!
Experiencing your sacrificial love has taught me much about God’s love for me. If you, a mere human, can love like this, I cannot even fathom the love of our Creator.
I pray for many more years together. Years of laughter and tears. Of deep joy, even in difficult circumstances. Of love — great, abiding, steady love. Love that heals. Love that lives and gives life.
Oh my darling, I still do.
With all my love,
[To see a slideshow of our whole wedding, go here.]