A dear friend of mine got married in April. She asked me to “do what you do, you know, that writing thing, and then deliver it during our wedding.” She may have believed in me, but I was at a complete loss of those “words” she was desiring to have read at her wedding until about the day before, and then, I ditched it all and went with what I have here. I realized I was trying too hard. I wanted to gift her with not just words, but wisdom, and not the kind everyone gives out to newly weds. I wanted to give out a dose of married reality and keep the joy firmly planted inside of it. It wasn’t going to be your typical wedding speech. But Becca knew that when she asked me to do this, so I knew she signed up for this when she asked me. HA. More than anything, I wanted her to have a successful marriage because of what they chose to give to each other, not hang on to a fantasy future of what “LOVE” was supposed to be like.
Here is the results. It’s my gift to them, but really? It’s a gift to anyone who loves another. Anyone who desires a relationship that is long term, committed, respects another, or to anyone who just plans to want to “love” anyone at all.
Being a theater girl, I came armed with a prop… and the official wedding gift… A red leather bound journal. I took a deep breath and began, book in hand, and words of the heart at the ready:
I have here a Journal. A new, fresh, ready to be filled book… it’s full of potential, promise, pages waiting hopefully and expectantly of a story well written. I am giving this to you both as a gift.
My husband and I will be married 18 years this June and we have kept a small red journal for years, leaving love notes to each other on our pillows inside it; in happy times, hard times, in celebration of new children, and in loss of. It has been a way to use our words to strengthen our journey.
We have had some very good times in our 18 years, and some really hard ones. We’ve had some that have scared us to death, and ones that have overwhelmed us with blessings. We’ve learned to never wish away the hard ones that fill our book, as they have made us who we are and the blessings always come on the heels of this. Embrace the life that comes to you, just as you have this very day. Today has not gone according to plan, but you have come together in it, and you will cherish it just as it is.
So, LOVE… Love is often NOT poetic. It is not tied up with pretty bows and perfect plans. It is not sweet like Easter jelly beans and Hersey’s kisses.
True love is not a feeling that will carry you away. Instead, love is choosing to stand, beside her, every… single… day.
LOVE is sticking beside him, when the path is rocky, digging your heels in, to work things out, EVEN when it takes all your moxy.
Love is not swirling and magical. Love is doing hard things when it seems illogical. The world will tell you you’re crazy, that there is a better “way out.”
(*long, firm pause*) Ignore the world.
- Love is born of hard work, dedication, commitment, and, above all, of God.
- Love is a verb. It’s full of action, of doing, of being, of becoming. It is not passive, does not assume, nor does it demand.
- It honors, trusts, believes, and hopes. Above all, LOVE ALWAYS HOPES.
- Love is full of grace.
- Love gives mercy, second chances, and do-overs. It does not hold grudges, holds no memory of faults, and does not relish defeat.
- Love strengthens and renews.
- True love doesn’t get to stay away on romantic vacations, but has to come home, to the battlefields of life.
- Love affirms and unconditionally accepts. Love, always encourages.
I have taken the liberty of beginning yours for you here. I would like to read from it and challenge you both to continue to fill this book.
Upon these pages write to each other about your love, your life, your stories. Communicate what works and what you cherish about each other. Encourage each other. You need not be a poet, but use your words. YOUR words hold power to heal and to bind up wounds if you use them the way God intends. As you give yourself to each other today, and as you give yourself to God as a couple before Him, give him your words too. Not just your “I DO’s”, but your “I WILLS.”
Why? Because of Love. Because LOVE is WORTH IT.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.