In my reading, I came across a blessing that Dr Greg Smalley gave to a couple on their wedding day that I want to share with you. It concerns growing love past the wedding. He told this couple:
“My hope, my dream, my prayer for you both is that years from now you will look back at your wedding day and realize that it was the day you loved each other the least.
“May your life together be one of falling in love with each other more every day.”
Growing Love Past the Wedding
“… Falling in love with each other more every day”… what a great thought! How much I wish it were true for every couple that enters into marriage. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the love that a couple has for each other on their wedding day keeps growing richer and richer from that day forward? That’s what they promise each other; but too many times the opposite happens.
I look back on the day that Steve and I married and realize that even though we dated each other for two and a half years, we had no clue as to what marriage would demand of us. We had no idea of what love truly was, and what it would require to keep it growing. It takes A LOT! We thought we knew what it would take. But we didn’t. That’s part of the “mystery of marriage” referred to in the Bible. You don’t know certain aspects of marriage until you are actually married.
Here’s what we’ve learned since saying, “I do” to grow our love in marriage:
“True love” isn’t something that just grows better and better with time. It takes intentionality, determination, perseverance through the really tough stuff to grow your love. If we don’t lean into growing, most of us will usually just slide apart. Life is pretty good at throwing so many challenges our way that interfere with growing together.
And so that is my challenge for you today… not just in your own marriage (which of course, is vital to tend to first), but also in helping other marriages to grow, as well.
Growing Love with Witnesses
For those of you who aren’t married yet, here’s an idea that Frank Powell suggests. (You can actually put this into the ending part of your wedding ceremony.) He writes:
“The presence of Christian community is so important that I ask those attending weddings I perform to make wedding vows to the couple being married. After the couple’s vows, the audience stands. Then I ask them two questions.
________ (Couple being married) have asked for your prayers and support as they begin marriage together. Do you pledge to pray for them as they work on building a deep and abiding love?
________ (Couple being married) will need determination and patience to cultivate their love for one another. Do you pledge to support them in every way as they build a Christ-centered marriage?
After each question, the audience responds with “We will.” It’s powerful to see the crowd looking at the couple, vowing to pray for and support them.
(From the article, “If Wedding Vows Were Honest”)
That’s a great idea! Here’s another related one:
I read about a bride and groom who asked everyone who attended their wedding to please sign their names to a document. This would then be attached to their wedding certificate. This document committed them to helping this couple grow a good marriage. This couple didn’t just want witnesses in attendance, they wanted people in their lives who would help them to keep their love alive. They wanted them to watch them live their lives together, and keep them accountable to growing a great marriage.
Wow!!! THAT took courage. It also showed the level of commitment they held in not just making promises to “love, honor, and cherish,” but to actually live out what they promised.
How about you?
Are you committed to do your part in following through with that which you vowed on your wedding day before witnesses and before God?
And are you committed to helping others to grow in their marriages so that they will also live out their promises, and grow in their love for each other?
Here Are a Few Ideas:
• If you are getting married, ask your pastor for a copy of the words of your wedding ceremony. (Tell him this in advance so he’s prepared.) Then frame and hang them in a place (like in your bedroom) where they’ll be a continual reminder of what you promised one another. It’s a reminder of what you vowed before God on your wedding day.
Lets not allow the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” apply as far as the promises we make. (If you attend a wedding, perhaps you can see if you can get a copy of the promises this couple made. You can have them typed up, looking nice, and give it to them at a later date.)
• Marriage expert, Gary Smalley shared the following in his book, “One Flame … How to Weather the Five Winds in Your Marriage.”
“One couple I know lights the unity candle on their six-month and yearly anniversaries. They read the Scripture passages they chose for their wedding ceremony and reflect on God’s goodness. They talk about how their marriage has grown or been challenged in the past six months or year. Often these discussions lead them to ask for and receive forgiveness from each other.
“Sometimes the couple sets goals for the coming six months or year. They set a direction for their relationship and hold each other accountable for the things they decide are important. Then they pray together and commit themselves once more to their vows and to being a couple.”
• Pat Ennis shared the following wedding ritual (on the Smart Marriages web site) that might inspire you:
“When my daughter was married a couple of years ago, at the end of the evening the MC asked everyone to form a circle around the bride and groom. He then gave a speech about how ‘marriage will have its ups and downs and all the people surrounding you right now are here to support you through whatever happens.’ Then he asked everyone to hold hands and walk slowly around them in a circle. The band then played, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ (There wasn’t a dry eye.)”
Okay, so lets do that. Lets do our parts in making sure other couples are not walking “alone”. Make sure they have our support in making their marriages good ones. Our wedding day and the wedding days of those we care about, should not just be sentimental parties. They are the starting of a journey together that requires intentionality.
Here’s Another Suggestion:
• Invite some couples to your home (or a church room) to go through a Marriage Study together. Look around and see what you can find, or I can give you a few ideas if you need them.
• Consider giving couples some helpful marriage books as part of their wedding gift. A few of them we recommend are:
- The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples (written by Alex and Stephen Kendrick)
- The First Five Years of Marriage (written by Focus on the Family counselors)
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (written by Gary Chapman)
These are just a few suggestions. Just get creative. Ask God what you can do to invest in marriages around you. You might be surprised at what He shows you.
Comfort Zones are Challenged
Is it fun doing this? It can be —we’ve had some good times doing this to help our marriage and to help others. But we’ve also had some uncomfortable times, as well, which is okay. God doesn’t just ask us to stay in our comfort zones as we walk through life. He asks us to spend ourselves helping others. God looks to us to be His colleagues in loving others and helping them to live for Him as we do so ourselves.
If you have ideas you can share with us on how you can grow your marriage and help others to grow, please share them with us. We/I would SO appreciate it!
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
This blog is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.