To Love and To Cherish

I love being married.

I had the privilege of attending a wedding last weekend. A beautiful young couple, completely in love, promised their lives to one another. This Valentine’s Day it reminded me of the promises hubby and I made more than 25 years ago.

To have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

I love being married, and wanted to honour my husband for all that he has done to make our marriage thrive.

I don't want to exclude my single or divorced friends. Not everyone is married, and not every marriage is successful in the long term. Divorce is unspeakably painful, and I have utmost respect for my friends who have navigated that difficult journey. I value my single friends and encourage them to enjoy a fulfilled life. However, I am married, and today I want to celebrate that and honour my husband.

In the last 25 years, we honestly have been through it all: better, worse, rich, poor, sickness and health. We have raised three children to adulthood together. That is an enormous challenge and joy! We were involved in several different business ventures, some successful, some not so much. We have enjoyed times of plenty and grieved times of heartbreaking loss.

But, we’ve done it all together, side by side, facing all of life’s challenges as a team.

Murray is my constant supporter. He has generously encouraged me to take hold of any and every opportunity that comes my way. He supported me for all of the years when I preferred to be at home with our children rather than staying in paid work. He encouraged me when I went to Bible College and juggled between work, study and family for four years. And, he cheered me every step of the way when I had the crazy idea of starting a blog. He continually reminds me that I am smart, capable and competent, and he gives me the courage I need to get in there and have a go.

Murray is my loyal friend. He’s been travelling a fair bit lately with his new job, and I miss him so terribly when he’s gone. I love that we enjoy just hanging out. Murray will potter around the shops with me, sit and drink coffee with me, take me on drives to pretty places or walks along the beach. He will slow down his run just so I can keep up, go places and do things he wouldn’t usually want to, because he is my friend, and he likes being with me.

Murray is a patient helper. He has always pulled more than his weight with the household chores and childcare. He never complains about helping with all of the jobs that have to be done to keep the household running well. And, he helps me. When I get a crazy idea, he is there to help me figure out the bits that get me stumped. I never have to hesitate, wondering what kind of response I will get. I know that when I ask, he will be there for me.

Murray is a loving forgiver. He has had lots of practice at forgiveness! I'm not the easiest person to live with. I've made some terrible mistakes over the years, some of them costly, and I've never had to feel afraid of what my husband would do or say. He has never belittled me or made me feel stupid. He is willing to forgive, and then we can both move forward.

Love with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

As we transition to the next stage and our nest empties out, I am excited for all that the next season will bring. We are not perfect, either of us, but we have been through a lot, we love each other deeply, and we’ve learned some things along the way that are very helpful.

We will continue to date every week. We started when the kids all began Youth Group at the church on Friday nights. We would drop them off at their program at 6 pm and then went out for dinner before we picked them up at 9. Even now, long after the kids have finished youth, we still go out on Friday nights. Sometimes we meet friends, but often it's just the two of us. The busier our schedules become the more we protect and look forward to our Friday nights together.

If you have the privilege of being married, can I encourage you to remember and to live your vows? Love and cherish one another. Encourage and cheer on one another. Be helpful, whenever you can. Be good friends, hang out together, enjoy each other's company. And, forgive one another. Give each other the freedom to make mistakes, and carry on.

Happy Valentine's Day Murray Wood. I love being married to you.