Living in the Safety of a Profound Mystery

Living in the Safety of a Profound Mystery

March 7, 2017

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

Julia* looked around in panic and confusion.

“Where’s David?” she asked the friend to her left. Ever so gently, David leaned in from Julia’s right, took her hand in his and said, “I’m right here. Everything is OK.” In one tender moment, David calmed her fears, and Julia relaxed into peacefulness.

Earlier that evening, I had watched Julia shuffle into the room, her face an unreadable, blank mask. Even though a mutual friend had tried to prepare me, I was shocked by the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease on a woman who was only a handful of years older than I.

Julia had lost myriads of memories, but in that moment when her husband held her hand, there were two things she knew: She was loved, and she was safe.

Conflicting emotions overwhelmed me as I watched the two of them. I thought, How beautiful that he loves her so faithfully … I’ll bet he never imagined this pain on their wedding day.

My mind drifted back to the spring day when I stood in white lace facing the most handsome man I’d ever seen. His piercing blue eyes locked in on my brown ones as he made his vows confidently and I whispered mine through joyful tears.

I, Amy, take you, Barry, to be my husband …
The word “husband” at the time was bright and shiny and new, but at the altar, my experience of marriage was limited to choosing a white dress and purple tulips.

To have and to hold from this day forward …
I didn’t know that some days “forever” would seem like a really, really long time for both of us. I didn’t know that we’d have to hold on to each other with all our might.

For better, for worse …
On the happy day at the church, I couldn’t imagine worse, but it would come. Life is hard in a broken world.

For richer, for poorer …
In the lavishness of a wedding ceremony, I couldn’t foresee times when there would be more bills than money. I didn’t know the sacrifices that we’d need to make.

In sickness and in health …
Words like “cancer” and “Alzheimer’s” weren’t on my mind when I quietly repeated the pastor’s words in front of friends.

To love and to cherish …
With love shining in my groom’s eyes, I didn’t think about bad breath and bad days. Love was in full bloom and cherishing each other seemed ridiculously easy … before we lived in each other’s space.

Until death do us part.
Two young, vibrant people said these words. We hadn’t experienced the fragility of life, and death seemed so, so far away.

This is my solemn vow.
Whether you’ve been married one month, one decade or dozens of years, you may know marriage to be so much harder than you ever dreamed — yet, it can be so much better, too. There’s a mystery embedded in those vows. It’s oneness between a distinct two. It’s faithfulness that leads to belonging. It’s protection that gives safety. It’s the exquisiteness of never leaving or forsaking. It’s exactly what Christ offers us.

Keeping our vows displays the power of Christ in us, and David’s care for Julia even when she could no longer return it was a perfect picture of this truth.

Has better turned to worse? Has richer turned to poorer? Has youth and health turned to sickness? It’s hard. No doubt about it. But today, I want us to embrace the tension between what we hoped for and what is. I want us to commit to remain one with our husbands so that we can display the power of Christ in us. Let’s stand together in the safety and the mystery of the vows we made.

Dear God, I pray that You would help me to stand in the mystery of oneness that You’ve given husbands and wives. Help me to trust You and to love him faithfully in the midst of life’s trials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 3:3, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Marriage is hard because it’s two imperfect people joined together. If your unrealistic expectations and perfectionism are damaging your marriage, the lessons Amy Carroll shares in her book, Breaking Up with Perfect, are for you!

Prepare your heart to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection with our Journey to Easter Scripture cards. These will walk you and your loved ones through the most important events during the week of Jesus’ death and resurrection in a way that anyone can understand! Click here to view these cards, along with the rest of our Easter collection, in the Proverbs 31 bookstore!

CONNECT:
Visit Amy’s blog today to download a prayer for marriage written just for you.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Whom have you seen display the power of oneness? What steps can you take to emulate the example that has been set for you?

Ask God to give you the power needed to fulfill your vows.

*Names have been changed in this devotion to maintain privacy.

© 2017 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Debora moore says:

    This was quite beautiful! Share it on Facebook to the public.

  2. Thank you for the gentle reminder. Your devotions are always right on the mark, delivered with love.

  3. Michelle says:

    My husband forgot about all his vows and left me. He said he no longer loved me and wants a divorce. How do I get passed this heartache? I still want my vows

    • Diane Reese says:

      Praying for you Michelle. Remember we cannot change anyone. Just focus on your relationship with God, work on getting to know him as your husband who promises to never leave you or forsake you. He is true and worthy.

  4. Michelle says:

    I’m still asking god to restore my marriage and open the eyes of my husband for him to remember his vows.

    • Praying for restoration of your marriage and God’s peace for you, Michelle.

    • Dear Michelle, I know this is excruciating for you. I want you to know that I said a prayer for you. I prayed that you would know the power of God’s love for you. I also don’t know how God will work in this situation, but I prayed that God would convict the man that left you, and that He would compel him through His Spirit to come back to you. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Dear Lord, I pray that You would let Michelle know the blessing, depth, warmth, and security of Your comfort in this time. May You let her feel the warmth of Your Presence in a way she’s never experienced before, and may you cause her to feel Your Presence in a more real way than ever, and allow her to feel immersed into the depths of it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. I love you, sweet sister.

      • ??

      • Michelle says:

        Thank you so much ?

      • Thanks for the encouraging words! My husband has left me for the second time and now wants a divorce. I am so committed to our marriage vows that I now don’t know what to do. I do know that God loves me and is with me, but it is such a difficult struggle. Please pray that God will guide me through this and I will know exactly what He wants me to do.

  5. We were at a wedding. It was a very simple affair. After all, the bride worked in the welfare hotels, loving and teaching the poorest of America’s children. She earned little and gave away much. And she’d found a man who shared her heart’s desire.

    When the minister got to the “for richer” part, the little gathering of friends giggled, then laughed out loud. We saw only “for poorer” in their future, and it was beautiful.

  6. Rochelle Howard says:

    I have been married for 25 years. What God and wisdom have taught me is the most important moments some from the most difficult of times. That’s when the character of your marriage can evolve and your faith in God and each other can grow. Thank you for the eloquent reminder.

    • My husband and me have been going through a tough time in our marriage. The devil tried to pull us apart making think I wasn’t good enough for him or my daughter. But we are fighting that and I’m thankful to say that we are growing so much stronger in the Lord. I’m able to understand God words and how much he loves me and my family. I’m not going to let the devil get to me or my family! I’m just so thankful to the Lord for his grace and mercy! I ask if you ladies would continue to pray for my family.

  7. My beautiful sister was a Baptist preachers wife…It wasn’t easy. He was cheating on her while she was battling breast cancer. He was mean to her, rude ,cold, and he couldn’t wait for her to die. He sat in the hospital joking and laughing as she was dieing in pain hoping it would be on Father’s day so his sermon would be just perfect. My sister held on and went to be with the Lord 2 days after Father’s day! He wasn’t even there with her when she drew her last breath, my other sister was. He didn’t honor his vows to her or to the Lord. My sister never said a word against him to anyone. My heart still hurts for the way he treated her.

    • I’m so sorry, Myrna. May you feel comforted knowing your sister is with the Lord.

    • Remember, Myrna, that God knows the whole truth. And that in the end, truth shines.Take comfort in your sister’s faithfulness. Don’t let bitterness cloud her glow in your heart.

    • I am so sorry for what your family has gone through. God will deal with what he has done so don’t let what he did continue to cause you pain. Honor your sister’s memory with grace. Praying for you.

  8. Diane Reese says:

    A painful reminder of all we are working through. How to restore after the vows have been broken and wondering if it’s even possible. Just a painful discouraging time, I know there are others of us going through the same thing. I’m praying for all of us having to go through this.

  9. Jeanette says:

    Tough times truly come in a marriage but the key is is to keep trusting God. Man eill let u down Every time but not God.

  10. Loving my Jesus says:

    Thanks for your devotion. I am 53 and still single and long for those bad times as well as fantastic ones with a partner, battle fear of aging alone. In this life, no matter the circumstance, it is hard to not ask “why”. I try my hardest to live on the joy of each day being thankful for what the Lord has blessed me with. It’s difficult to hear about marriage constantly and my whole life have listened and learned to prepare for my groom. I face the cold hard facts that may not be my reality on this earth. I pray for joy and peace anyway.

    • I am 52 and single. Although my singleness came from divorce, the fear of growing old alone is real.
      Try to remember, your waiting is your decision, not God’s. By that I mean, you feel you’re waiting for a groom but God isn’t waiting for anything. He’s given you the life He wants for you. Right now. Right here.
      I find if I take my desires out of the picture and embrace what God has placed in front of me as exactly right, it helps my acceptance.
      I will pray for you.

  11. I went through a divorce last year. There’s a lot of hurt between my ex-husband and myself, but I am on a journey to healing as is he. We talk every day and are raising our two wonderful kids together. We get along. He came to my house and hung pictures for me. I helped give him paint color advice for his new home. I am hopeful our story is not yet finished. I have hope that this is a season of our lives where the chapters take a detour for a while, where we both learn to grow beyond ourselves and towards God. I’m hopeful my family will be together one day again, but even if we never get there, I have God’s love and look to Him to keep my paths straight. This is so painful and so hard.

    • Kim I am so happy to hear unare getting along.i am going thru a divorce and yes it hurts but somehow deep down my heart says that we need to be separated for God to completely work in each one of us.sounds strange to some especially sinve.im christian and should not have allowed it to get this far.Injave told him that. We can be friends but je is so hurt that i made this decision he wont accept to be friends and just can’t picture it.i am just.praying that what God put together will be mended and restored in Jesus name.amen

  12. I was married 30 yrs. When cancer took my husband. Marriage with all its ups and downs is still a wonderful way to walk life. So after several years alone I’ll once again be joined in marriage this summer to a kind, humble, Godly man.
    I am blessed. Thank you Jesus.

  13. Caroline Wyatt says:

    I have a son who married a Christian lady, she is in her 50’s & he is in his 30’s, but she has a daughter in her late 20’s, one day I found out from my son’s grandma that my son had surgery & I asked him why I was not told this ahead of time. I should point out the live in a different state. Anyway, it ended up in a huge argument, where the wife’s daughter started to text me to leave her mom alone & she quoted that verse to me. To me that doesn’t mean he should ignore me, we were all texting not talking on phone. After several texts from the daughter I finally ignored her & she finally quit texting, but since then talking to my son has been far & few & we had a great relationship but now I feel it slipping away. I was accused of interveing in their marrisage & I was only asking a simple question.

    • Caroline, having grown children is the hardest thing ever. My son is 25 and engaged and his soon to be wife is very jealous of me and him. I have had words with her and I am not proud of that but I have never asked my son to intervene, I actually told I did not want him to take my side that his duty is to love and support her. With that being said I did ask her to lunch one day in public on even ground and I was just very honest and open with her but I did it with kindness. I explained that I could never take her place but she could never take mine and that I am his mother and I love him and I plan to be in his life until God calls me home. I told her that she and I would just need to find a mutual ground and if could not agree that we had to agree to disagree. To my suprise she started to cry and was very thankful, her fear was that I did not think she was good enough for him. I pray that things work out with you and your son and his wife. God bless you

  14. I am humbled and amazed at how God speaks to me through these daily devotions. I am struggling so hard to hang on to my marriage after my husband was unfaithful to me. It has been 2 years and there are days that it still feels like day one. I have forgiven him and I have gone through my anger stage and now I am just hurt. I feel like I have put up a wall and I am only allowing him so far in and that breaks my heart. We had always been best friends we didn’t have any problems in our marriage, he was overseas actually when it happened. I felt like my world had shattered because I thought everything was good, I never had a clue. He is trying very hard to do what he needs to do but he has never really given me an apology without him being angry. I know it is probably shame and guilt more than anger but still it just hasn’t allowed me to heal. I have grown so much closer to God through it all. But both of us are saved and have lived for God so this made it so much worse. Thank you for these wonderful honest devotions each day, they are how I start my mornings.

    • Anj03,
      I too went through a time in my marriage where I had to heal from my husband’s indiscretions. It’s HARD! BUT, I had great counsel from a pastor who continually reminded me that I am answerable for me only. The distance my husband’s choices put between us forced me not to look to him for happiness and fulfillment but to God. I worried for a long time he would relapse, do it again, but once I stopped focusing on what I couldn’t control and started focusing on what I could….ME….it slowly got easier. God calls us to be children of God and I found I had been looking to my husband to fulfill my needs instead of God. Once I looked to God to fill me and to my husband as a human, flawed like me, that I chose to love, I was able to start loving him again unconditionally. I memorized a few key verses that I kept with me always. (One being Philippians 4:13) I pray that this hard time will draw back into Christ’s arms and fill your heart with unconditional love for your husband. Give it time, and when you find yourself discouraged immerse yourself in His word. It does get easier and if you ask and believe, God can restore what is broken.

      • Hi Sarah. I love what you wrote. And I can agree with all you said. I was the spouse who had the affair. I am the spouse that left. After I left, and God brought me to my knees in horror as I realized what I did, did I begin to see that the problems in my marriage stemmed from my own heart. Yes my husband had his own issues he had to work on, but yeah. It was my sinful and stubborn heart that needed to be shattered. My brother gave me many days of wise, Godly counsel on basically what you outlined above while my husband and I were on a quick track to a divorce that I no longer wanted but he did . A human being, more specifically my husband, made a very poor God. All glory due to God, we reconciled, and I can humbly say our marriage is better than it ever could have been if this had no happened. But I had to learn hard lessons about myself, what love truly is and to focus on what I could change, and that was only myself.
        Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thank you for this beautiful devotion. Once again God has used this ministry to speak to my heart.
    I fell asleep crying out in prayer to the Lord, asking Him to restore what is broken in my marriage. It seems the harder I try to do right by God the further my husband pulls away from me. I want us both to walk in the ways of the Lord and to live for Jesus but I’m not sure this is what my husband wants. He knows God and believes in Jesus but he doesn’t live and walk in faith. This frustrates me and I find it hard to love and react in the ways I know God wants me to. Sometimes I get angry with him and I find myself being spiteful or mean bc of the way he has treated me or neglected me. I am a new and “young” Christian, so my faith and flesh are still “weak”. I want to live and love the way God wants me to but I am struggling so hard in my marriage. I just wish my husband wanted the same.

    • Amanda,
      As daughters in Christ we are called to support our husband’s but I found at times I was trying to “fix” my husband. When I failed or when he didn’t do what I thought was the right thing I’d get discouraged, angry or even hurt. My actions, and reactions, to my husband wound up pushing him further away than closer. I had a pastor remind me I am only answerable to God for me. WOW was that hard to swallow! As I saw my husband make, what I felt, were bad decisions, I was called not to focus on him but on MY decisions and actions. I still struggle with this, wanting to “fix” my husband who knows God but doesn’t seem to walk with Him. However, every day I try to focus on MY walk with God and MY actions. Over time my husband has come to respect my faith and has seen the changes in me. This has brought him back into our marriage and he’s even attended church a few times with me! I pray that you will be able to use this time to grow in your faith and walk with God and lift your husband up in prayer for God to guide and change. Take this journey with God and you may just find God works in your husband through the changes your husband sees in you, not by what you try to change in him!

  16. This is absolutely beautiful. I wish I’d paid more attention to these things. My husband and I had a huge fight not quite a week ago. He’s ready to leave. The thing holding him here right now is our 6 beautiful children. I have caused more pain for him than I ever realized, all because of how I treated him. I want so badly for my marriage to be restored, but there needs to be a lot of healing before that can happen. I’m praying for that daily, but I also want to remind others in my same circumstances that if one of the people in the marriage is truly ready to leave, chances are good that there has been unintended pain caused to that person. While they may not be perfect, we need to examine ourselves to see if we have caused this pain and pray that God changes this in ourselves. When we truly seek God and allow him to change us, His love will shine through us. My prayer for my marriage isn’t just restoration, it’s also that God will change me on my most intimate level so that I will not continue this destructive behavior towards my husband and my children. If he still decides to leave, I can’t stop him, and that is hurting more than I can express, but I will find my solace in God.

    • Amy Carroll says:

      Beth, I’m praying for you and your marriage this morning. I recently did an interview with Jill Savage who has recently released a book called No More Perfect Marriages. Her story sounds so much like yours, and I think it could be a big help to you. My heart is with you as you fight for your marriage.

  17. While this devotion was difficult for me to read I was able to reflect on my life and marriage of almost 38 years. You see, my husband passed away on Saturday after battling multiple myeloma for six years. We had ups and downs in our marriage but we grew closer together. It was my privilege to care for him in his sickness and be with him as he took his last breath. He was my best friend. I have been able to see God’s hand helping us through this and have so much to be thankful for. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I have been so very blessed.

    • Amy Carroll says:

      Pat, your comment brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably about how difficult is was to walk through a chronic illness with your husband and yet what a blessing. I’m praying for you as you grieve the loss of your husband and best friend. My heart is with you.

  18. Kathy Wyg says:

    Good morning…Amy….thank you so much for this awesome story/devo….I read it in
    Tears….thank you again…

    Have a blessed day…..guys……Kathy Wyg…….

  19. Beautiful. As a hospice bereavement coordinator, I have seen many examples of the lasting love you describe between Julia and David. The commitment of these spouses to take care of them, spend all their resources to provide for their medical needs, and remain faithful is such a loving example of how our Lord is committed to His bride – the church. My prayer is that when our current generation starts to tip into the twilight years and experience grave illnesses, that they too will remain as dedicated and faithful. In Jesus name, let it be so!

    • Amy Carroll says:

      Yes, Debbie. Let it be so! One of the things I didn’t share in my devotion… Later in the evening as Barry, my husband, had also watched David’s love and care for Julia, he walked by my in the kitchen, leaned over and whispered, “I’d do the same thing for you” in my ear. I almost broke down and sobbed. It was an incredible moment of knowing my husband’s love and deep commitment for me.

  20. I’m in tears as I read this this morning. My husband of 19 years left our family one week ago and has asked for a divorce. We have two children, ages 13 and 10. I have caused him a lot of pain by not meeting his needs, and he has done the same. It was a vicious cycle that we allowed to overcome our love for another. The truth is, we did not put God first. Knowing that, and asking to try again, and being told no is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I want nothing more than to have God lead our marriage and lead our family to be a testament to Him. I confessed to my husband that I have suffered through a bout of depression and only recently have sought help and have begun to see light at the end of a dark tunnel. I believe this depression negatively impacted my ability to serve my husband as a wife should, and contributed to his decision to leave. Now he has made up his mind, and the help I am receiving is “too little too late”. I pray that God touches his heart and shows him that God’s plan for marriage is for Him to be first, and that our family deserves another chance. I pray that we can restore what God has blessed and rebuild a marriage even stronger than anything we’ve ever had before. I pray that my children will know they are loved even in these hard times. I pray that my husband sees unconditional love in me and can forgive me of the ways I have treated him and the pain I have caused him and will allow me another chance to show my love for him. I pray for strength and comfort and healing. My husband says he knows what I need and I know what he needs, we just don’t want to give it to each other. I pray that God will put the desire in his heart to give me what I need, as I have the desire to do for my husband. I pray that we would both seek a relationship with God and that He would bless our vows and our family. Thank you for your precious words. I will continue to fight for my marriage and my family as God intended and as I vowed on my wedding day.

    • Mona,
      May God bless you. He hears you. Be strong and have faith. The road is hard, but God is always with you. Dear Heavenly Father heal Mona’s marriage. Bring restoration into their lives. Put your words onto her husband’s heart. In your name I pray. Amen

    • Thanks! You wrote the perfect words for what I am praying also for my marriage as I am going through similar struggles and my husband feels we cannot meet each other’s needs. I am praying all the same things as you and your words are perfect. I will pray for your marriage as I pray for mine. God Bless!

      • Jan, I will keep you in my prayers, also. My husband has already filed for a divorce and I was given papers to sign on Tuesday. I am praying hard through this process and reminding myself that God’s ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55:8-9
        8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
        neither are your ways my ways,”
        declares the Lord.
        9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
        so are my ways higher than your ways
        and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The profound mystery isn’t always safe……

    There is struggle and there is abuse.

    • anonymous says:

      True. My son’s wife abused him and tried to eliminate him from the lives of his children. He decided to divorce. God knows he never wanted to divorce but if only one of the couple goes into marriage with a true Christian heart, the marriage is no marriage.

    • Amy Carroll says:

      Yes. You’re absolutely right, and it’s heart-breaking. Please read this article by Gary Thomas which I believe has a biblical approach to abuse: http://www.garythomas.com/enough-enough/ If you are in an abusive situation, I urge to you enlist the support of a friend and call your local domestic violence hotline today. You are precious to God, and I’m praying for you.

  22. Please pray for my marriage. My husband left me and our kids, and wants a divorce. Pray that God will change his heart. My heart breaks for all the broken marriages, and I pray God sends restoration to all. He is with us, His timing is perfect, and we will all be okay. He is for us. He loves us.

    • I will pray for God to soften his heart and to come back to you. Praying for full restoration, but also that he see his need for the saving grace of Jesus. I pray that he’d rejoice in knowing all the blessings that God has already given him in you and your children.

  23. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

  24. It is with sadness that I respond to this devotion today. My marriage of 25 years is coming to an end. I was devastated last September when I found out my husband was having his fourth affair. I am choosing to be done this time! He does not want to be done. He says he loves me and is sorry! I am done with having my forgiveness taken advantage of. I know God hates divorce, but I also believe he hates it when man or woman have to live in a relationship where one is abusing the other repeatedly. I believe he hates this worse! As christians we need to stop making people feel guilty for choosing to leave an abusive relationship! I know I can forgive him, but that does not mean I have to reconcile my marriage. There comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself and demand that you are loved like Christ intended you to be loved!

    • Elena M. Giordano says:

      I hear you. I sent a similar response and I’m not even married. But I watched the church counsel my mother to stay in an abusive and toxic marriage for years, and then watch my dad use scripture to guilt my sisters into staying with their abusive husbands. I do not believe this is what God wants. If one party has broken their vows you are free, and advised in the case of abuse, to leave. A marriage won’t work if only one person is upholding their vows. And it could prove deadly or extremely harmful in some cases.

    • Amy Carroll says:

      I agree that the church should be supporting spouses who are abused, not encouraging them to stay in dangerous degrading situations. Gary Thomas recently wrote a blog post called “Enough is Enough” that is a strong scriptural defense of this view point. I hope this encourages you. http://www.garythomas.com/enough-enough/

  25. I too am experiencing the pain of a divorce after 33 years of marriage. I took my vows seriously and the hurt is so painful. He totally blindsided me, I had no idea it was coming. I pray daily, several times a day and just know that God knows every step I take and he is with me. He has plans for me and I must wait and keep my faith. I have no idea where my life is going but I will continue to stay in faith.

    • Amy Carroll says:

      I’m standing with you, Kim, praying for God’s complete restoration for you whether inside your marriage or out of it. He loves you immeasurably, and my heart is with you.

  26. Jana Hagan says:

    One of my many mistakes made in my almost 30 years of marriage, is that I didn’t “leave” my Father & Mother and unite with my husband 100%. I still relied on my parents for a lot of things for which I was to rely on my husband. No one shared that important principal with me, it wasn’t until my own son was getting married that I realized what I had done. A lot of apologies to my MIL & my Husband.

    • Amy Carroll says:

      Wow. Great insight, Jana. Thank you for loving the other women here enough to share your hard-earned wisdom with us.

  27. Thank you for this devotion. Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. I married an amazing man who the day after our wedding had a heart attack. Thankfully he recovered. But I didn’t realize repeating those vows that I would be living them so soon. Never, ever take your husband for granted, he can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. I thank God for mine everyday. I think of that time in the hospital whenever he is getting on my nerves or being a big poop and remember how afraid I was of losing him. It puts things in perspective.

  28. Elena M. Giordano says:

    This is a wonderful reminder for people…not in abusive marriages. To them this is a heap of shame and condemnation for thinking about breaking their vows to achieve safety. And the church is not exempt from abuse or domestic violence. Statistics show it is essentially parallel to the rest of society. Which mean statistically a large portion of the women who read this are in an abusive, unsafe and toxic marriage. It may be wise to consider that demographic and include a note about how to handle your vows in those situations as well rather than discourage and alienate a huge portion of readers.

  29. MARY ARNOLD says:

    As I read that story I have 2 different views of the same scenario. My husband is a nurse in school on his rotations he was assigned to an Alzheimer unit. From day 1 he spoke about this lady who would yell across the room Dan, my husbands name is Mark, Dan I am over here honey I saved you a seat. So he would do what he was to do then go and sit with her. She wanted to hold hands and he would and she would marvel at how soft his hands were; or how they looked like a hard working mans hands. She would ask if they could kiss and he would tell her know not right there, she would giggle and so oh ok. I always took this story as a sign of the compassion and care I know he has.
    I was telling this story and someone said to me; he held her hand, I would be pissed he should not hold any one else’s hand! I shrugged my shoulders and said if he gives this lady 1 minute of comfort he can hold her hand everyday, and he did as long as he worked that ward.

  30. we just buried my daddy on Thursday, he died secondary to Alz. Dz. We loved him and cared for him. We sent obits to the nursing home, daycare, etc just so they would know that daddy was a man of God and a wonderful Bible teacher and pastor. Sometimes people forget that the person with Alz Dz is really a whole person with lives and loves. Yolanda

  31. KeTina Kennedy says:

    Oh how precious this devotion was to me. However I am going through a very tough unforeseen separation/divorce out of no where the love of my life that stood by me on sickness and health, and treated me as a queen….walked out of our home this past October and filed for divorce…I’m trusting God to heal his heart and give him the desires of his heart. And for me to get through this grieving and heal my broken heart. God will not forsake me! He will deliver me peace and restore my joy indeed.

  32. C Rogers says:

    Thanks, Amy. You’re so right. We don’t imagine the challenges on our wedding day, but loving our husbands well is a calling and a privilege. I feel pain for those that are struggling in their marriages. May God grant them mercy, grace and wisdom for their next steps.

  33. Susan G. says:

    This is a keeper!
    Thanks for the reminder…even after 42 years of marriage, it’s not easy.
    But God is faithful!
    Thanks for these encouraging words today!

  34. Jennie Knight says:

    Bill asked me to marry him within 24 hours of our meeting. We were married 60 days later in the Baptist Church where I grew up. This August we will celebrate our 44th anniversary. I know that Christ was present and blessed our union. Bill and I firmly believe in the vows we took. I now suffer from Lupus. It is becoming aggressive but he helps me walk and cleans me up. I feel like he didn’t deserve to be my nurse. To quote Bill,” I meant all of the vows I took in 1973; they are stand strong.”

  35. All this is excellent to remember. I was recently challenged after 40 plus years of marriage that I needed to remember to CHERISH my husband, not just commit to the marriage. Cherish, as I do my precious family heirlooms. Do i actively love and care for him? Do I protect our time, our privacy,our love…as something and some oneprecious to me or dies he get the end of my patience, left over attention or take him for granted? I pray that my words, my actions and my heart show him Thai I cherish him.

  36. Alzira Mascarenhas says:

    Dear Amy,
    Thank you for the reminder where we take marriage for granted. We celebrated 25 years last October and it is struck me how hard marriage has been as it is not at all a bed of roses. God has been very kind to us and given me a spiritual family as my husband’s brother and two sisters are religious and he is the only one who is married. I feel blessed to be part of this family as Christ reigns in our lives each moment. God bless.

  37. Oh my, I am watching 33 years of marriage descend into nasty rants and picking at me at every opportunity. I realise now that he shows typical Narcissistic behaviour, and so did my father, well he still does and I have to be his carer.
    Now, sadly, my lovely son is marrying a delightful girl who thinks all his flirtatious, funny wasps are just him behind a second dad. No way, he puts my son down in front of her, and treats me with disdain and contempt, usually so I look bad and he looks great.
    Done what I can to protect her and explain to my son who thankfully understands, and does not show this trait.
    Feel revolted by him now, and my father, so, so tired, BUT I have Jesus who loves me fully and beautifully, so that is my shield against the tirades and tricks.
    You can’t get to me , I whisper, cause Jesus got there first, and I am worthy as HIS daughter….this is so empowering and freeing.

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