Letters from the Heart - Marriage

Spring is in the air.  Hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips are all blooming with amazing colors and fragrances…and yes the grass is greening up in my yard and seems to be growing faster this spring than in years past.  With the spring flowers and warmer weather also comes romance.  Couples seem to pair up more rapidly after the long cold winter, holding hands as they take walks amidst the cherry blossoms in the drier weather.  This is also the time when recently engaged “brides to be” are busy planning their wedding.

We have a staff member in our office whose daughter is getting married in 10 days.  We have known this young bride for many years.  She has been one of our daughter’s good friends since they were little girls.  It is very gratifying to see young people find their soul mates and agree to step up into the marriage covenant.  For a while now I have heard statistics that some of the young people today are seriously considering not doing the marriage "thing" at all.  They are seeing and experiencing more evidence of marriage not working well in our society and are simply opting out, living together as if they were legally married.

This last month I have taken several calls from men and women who are struggling in their marriages.  Some are separated, some are in mediation, some are filing for divorce and others are simply “hanging in there” hoping that their troubles will be resolved.  These types of calls seem to affect me more emotionally than others.  Listening to the callers’ stories, my heart hurts from their pain and the wounds they are suffering with.  I am assisting one young woman, a recently divorced single mother of one child, providing financing for the purchase of her new home.  She is excited to be moving out of her apartment, but frankly, I think her excitement is a little bittersweet.  I think she would rather be moving back home, getting back together with her ex-husband and the father of her child.  I hear it in her voice as we talk, and it makes me so sad for her.

Last September I “gave away” my oldest daughter as the father of the bride, to her soul mate and my new son-in-law.  The wedding was in a vineyard, the day was sunny, in the mid 70’s and the father of the bride couldn’t hold back his tears.  As I first laid eyes on her that day in her satin white dress, my mind raced down the last 23 years of memory lane, recalling her awkward little girl days, amazed at how fast she had grown into this beautiful young woman now standing next to me.  As we walked down the aisle to the music, she beamed light of joy from her face and yes, I cried as I prayed for God to bless this union.

Marriage...it can create some of the deepest joys a human could ever experience on earth, and it can also create the deepest wounds a heart is ever asked to endure in life.  In my opinion, it’s worth the risk.  My bride and I celebrated the 38th anniversary of our first date on April 24th.  It was Easter Sunday and as the family gathered together, including our daughter and wonderful new son-in-law, we not only celebrated Christ’s resurrection, but marriage itself.

I pray for new couples brave enough to make the commitment to get married, and I pray for those who, for whatever reason, suffer from divorce.  It gives me the peace I need as I see couples everywhere enjoying romance in this new season of fresh spring weather.  May 1st is May Day; so give someone you love a bouquet of flowers…just because.  It’s a good thing to celebrate spring.  Have a blessed month.

Sarah Gillihan