In recent years, Terry has suggested several times that we do a little ceremony to renew our wedding vows. Married couples sometimes do that. It is a romantic gesture for sure.
But, I have resisted going through such a matrimonial redo. It is not that I have tired of our marriage. Quite the contrary. It is not because I have stopped loving her. I actually am addicted to her. It is not because I am a crusty and stubborn ol’ sassbutton. Well—-I am that unfortunately. After forty-one years of marriage, I still love her very much and I still like her very much.
I just feel like that when we publicly said the “I do’s” with the stated vows, and slipped our rings on our respective fingers on August 9th, 1975 that it was good to go for our lifetimes. A matrimonial redo suggests to me some thing which needs to be re-experienced in order to rekindle the original marital flame. In my estimation, I just think that because of the bond Terry and I have that we do not need it.
If your spouse and you need such an exercise for your relationship, then by all means go for it. But, I have considered a different proposal that takes the renewal proposition forward perhaps.
About a month ago, I suggested to Terry that we go on a road trip to North Carolina during Valentine’s Day. I had been contemplating this possibility for some time. In the mean time for the past four months, I had been paying incrementally on a lay-away of a significant gift at Valentine’s for her at a certain Point Pleasant business.
On Valentine’s Day in Salisbury, N.C., I took her out to eat. During the dining, I presented to her a hand-made card from me. On the outside portion, I wrote some affectionate words.
But, on the inside portion, I posed the following question, “…Will you stay married to me?” Then, I displayed the gift I had gotten her. After forty-one years of marriage and six children, I thought it was an appropriate question to pose supported by an exciting gift to share with her.
But, herein lies the spiritual consideration that involves each of us. It is true that the Bible describes God’s relationship with Israel in terms of marriage. And, there were times when God challenged Israel about their willingness to continue their relationship. After all, marriage strongly evokes the image of consistent commitment, and one-ness, and fellowship. No less is expected in our relationship with the Lord.
Also, the New Testament relationship between Jesus Christ and the people of the Church is described in like manner. Jesus Christ is the groom, and the Church is the Bride. In significant terms, the Lord also challenged the Church about their willingness to continue a close relationship, for the Lord pointed out sharply in the Book of Revelation, “I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.”
Furthermore, consider the challenge the Lord put before Peter while they were eating a meal. During dining, the Lord asked, “Peter, do you love me?” With the question, the Lord was challenging Peter about his level of commitment. Did Peter love the Lord enough with a strong desire to remain committed?
By contrast, although not worded with the same terms, the question still is presented to us by God in point specific terms through Scripture or by the Holy Spirit, “Will you stay married to me?” You see, it is right and good that we indicate to God at times our intent be committed to Him, to be one with Him, and to be in fellowship with Him.
All too often we regard our association with God like we regard marriage. It is in name at best. But, if life will experience blessing, it will come from having a continuing passion for our Savior. The same holds true for our spouses—-persistent passion for their lives with you remains important. On both accounts, the question “will you stay married to me” is both pertinent and appropriate.
In the mean time, did I wow Terry? How did she react? What did she answer? Maybe I will tell you about it next week.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.