July 16, 1977.
It sounds even to my ears a long long way back in history. I was very, very nervous - a shy young teacher, whose school summer term had finished only two days earlier. HE had just graduated from Cambridge. We'd already been engaged for nearly two years, but he had a fourth year of studies to finish and we had decided to wait. I walked down the aisle on my father's arm, wearing the veil my mother had worn at their wedding, and which her aunt had worn years before that. The congregation were singing as we walked - you won't want them looking at you, advised my mother, so have a hymn to come in and then they can concentrate on that and not on you. Crown Him with many Crowns, the Lamb upon His Throne, they sang. And right from the start, we wanted Christ at the centre of our marriage. All Hail, Redeemer, Hail, for Thou hast died for me, Thy praise shall never, never fail, throughout eternity. We knew even then that a life of full time service to Christ lay ahead of us. We learnt our vows by heart, determined not to say them to the officiating minister, the wonderfully Welsh Vicar, John Gwyn-Thomas, but to each other. As we turned and held hands and looked deeply, we promised. We promised FOREVER - no matter what: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death us do part. A promise that has been stretched to its limits on many occasions. But we promised in front of human witnesses - our families and friends - and in front of God. He put the ring on my finger; I put one on his. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. A Trinity of witnesses. We sang again. Channels only, blessed Master, but with all Thy wondrous power flowing through us Thou canst use us every day and every hour. And that was our prayer and our commitment.The sermon, by our request, was an outreach to those of our friends who as yet did not know the Lord. There were prayers; a friend sang a solo from The Messiah whilst the registers were signed; and then the voices were raised in a favourite hymn - And Can it Be ... my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose went forth and followed Thee. That's what we promised together - to follow wherever He leads us.
What have we learned in 35 years?
That the promise still stands. A promise is a promise is a promise. Through the joys and the sorrows - the 2am feeds and then the weddings of those same babies; depressing times and times of delight; 6 little grandchildren; broken dreams and heights of splendour; speaking together to large conferences, praying for individuals; upholding one another; and trying to serve the Lord together. The best times are those when together we truly seek to serve and follow the Lord and His plans for our lives. He has given us enormous blessings, gifts, privileges and experiences. Not least, a wonderful family of children, children-in-law and grandchildren. But best of all, each other, to love and to cherish, from this day forward. For ever. It's our promise and our love.
What have you learned in the years you have been married? What blessings can you share?
SHARE THE LOVE: maybe forward this to others, pray for and strengthen their marriage?