My Dearest and Most Precious Anna,
Today is the day long awaited. Today represents the culmination of the countless prayers, tears, and hopes we both, along with our beloved family and dear friends, have experienced in the winding path that finally led us together. Today will bring both the pealing forth of the bells of the church announcing our marriage as well as the unbridled celebration of all those who rejoice with us! Our hearts, minds, souls, and lives unite for the rest of our lives!
Why Marry? – Because I Want to Love You Like Christ Does
Before we begin this marriage together with all of the exciting and hopeful what-ifs of this future together, I want to first set the foundation in eternal truths. I want every what-if to be grounded in something that goes beyond emotions and feelings and instead draws strength from the deeper well of commitment and fidelity as first demonstrated to us by our loving God. As the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:9-11, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Our love does not originate from anything inherent in us. Rather, we can fully love each other because God loves us and has demonstrated to us what true love really is. So I choose to love you as a channel of God’s ultimate love for you. I love all that I know about you and all that I have yet to learn, the good and the bad, the joyful and the hard. That kind of love is a verb, not a state of being. I aspire to love you more tomorrow than I do today. I want to demonstrate by every word, action, and intent that kind of love. As Christ loves you, so too do I want to love you with selfless, sacrificial love. Love as an emotion ebbs and flows like the tide whereas love as a God-empowered choice — an action — a verb — flows on without ceasing. When powered by the love of God, this kind of love grows and expands until it has no end, never quantified or measured.
Why Marry? – Because I Want to be Your Husband
In the months before our relationship began, my heart plumbed the depths of my lesson-filled past and an unknown future seeking whether I should again seek to shoulder the awe-inspiring responsibility of a husband. In that search, I kept coming back to the fundamental principles of what the Bible demonstrates as the greater picture of marriage and its blessings and challenges. Having taken these solemn vows before and lived them to the end, I know even more intimately the deep and solemn spiritual, practical, and emotional considerations that I will shoulder as your husband. Yet, I knew I wanted that. My soul longed to have a wife to serve, lead, and love.
May every husband and those seeking to become a husband tremble in fear at this grand and heavenly weight of responsibility. Yet even in that recognition, a husband can joyfully love and sacrificially lead knowing that all is required to do both is the grace of God. Biblical marriage is the joining together of two sinners saved by grace who learn to humbly depend on God for all aspects of their relationship, forgive in love and grace the failings of their spouse, build one another up in their daily walk with God, and form an unbreakable team for greater ministry impact in their family, church, and community than either of them could ever do alone. In that task, I just trust in God’s grace that I can be a yielded servant and joyfully obey the great calling of marriage.
Our marriage will also bring great and unspeakable joy! There is deep strength and peaceful comfort in the oneness of marriage, the complete transparency we can have with each other where we bare our souls in all of their strengths, weaknesses, fears, failures, successes, deepest dreams and desires, and all the mundane ordinariness in between. As we will come to fully know and fully love one another, how joyous it will be to pour that into one another, not turning away, but deepening the investment of never-ending love and commitment to each other. In that marriage philosophy, we will rest in grace (Rom. 8:1) and fight by faith (Rom. 8:13)
I want to serve you; to seek your counsel; to comfort and protect you; to live with you in an understanding way. I want us to grow in our knowledge with one another so that one look between us can convey a world of meaning. My heart longs to help you grow and mature in sanctification; to lead us in our spiritual pursuits in worship, devotions, service in the local church, and the washing of the water of the Word. I want to go through life as we experience together both joys and sorrows of life; to minister to one another’s needs; to provide a home as a place for ministry to others and Lord willing, to our children one day; to seek out the lost, hurting, and needy that we might minister to them. I want to be your husband in each of these things as well as every unknown trial that will come too.
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). God has blessed me in you with an excellent one, one more precious than the rarest of treasures (Prov. 31:10–12). You have exceeded my every hope for what this next chapter could ever be! I never want to get over that fact!
I am both humbled by the awesome responsibility it is to lead our marriage and love you as Christ loves you, but also so thrilled and excited to see what God has for us next as we look to what a future together will look like!
Why Marry? – Because I Want to Point You and Others to Eternal Truth
Just as we held a rehearsal yesterday for today’s wedding ceremony, today is also in some ways a dress rehearsal for the marriage yet to come.
“As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18)
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31–32)
In the beginning of creation, God officiated the very first marriage. As Adam spoke the very first poetic words by singing the very first song (Gen. 2:23), God joined them together for a purpose bigger than anything just on earth. It was a preview of eternity’s far greater romance and the promise of the perfect Bridegroom yet to come! When Christ came as the Messiah, He then peeled back the veil completely on what earthly marriage fully points to.
God’s hand has been so amazingly clear in our relationship from beginning to end. For that, we praise Him! He has brought us together now in marriage so that I as your husband may seek in every interactions to help get you ready for eternity by pointing you to Christ. To that end, we must lift our eyes from the earthly plane to something far greater.
And so today my love, we step onto a broad stage of celestial proportions. Our marriage speaks not just to the world around us, but also to the heavenly realms. My part as groom is to imitate the selfless ferocity of our Savior’s eternal love. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Eph. 5:25)
I am called to channel my Savior’s love. I must love like Him who left heavenly glory and riches for earthly poverty and depravity; angels’ adoration for humanity’s hatred; the kingly throne for a stable’s manger; the Creator’s power for suffering and death at the hands of mere mortals; the Father’s favor for all humanity’s earned judgement. Each selfless act of His love tells the story of true love.
I am not your Savior though. I cannot be. I will sign a covenant with you in ink. Christ has signed one in His precious blood. I would die for you. Christ already has. I seek to love you perfectly. He has done so and always will.
And so, our hope is not in each other, but in God and His infinite grace. Our marriage is not the ultimate reality nor the culmination of life’s great search. It merely points to it. Our marriage is far too earthly and temporal to bear that kind of burden.
Instead, this wedding day, with all its delight, faintly echoes the approaching day, when we will wake from this world as from a turbulent slumber. A day when sin’s spell will be broken, the curse on creation shattered, and we will behold our Bridegroom face to face.
And so … for that day, we wait some more, just as we awaited this precious day. In that waiting as husband and wife, our marriage will, like the rest of creation, groan with the curse of sin. Though our longing for earthly marriage will be fulfilled, we still have a greater longing for the shadows to flee away in light of the true and forever, Happily Ever After! We must do battle together in the meantime waging war with each other against our flesh, not against each other. Through that combined struggle, our marriage covenant will shine forth through the darkness, foretelling the coming of an ultimate light.
My dearest and most precious Anna, today, we step into a marriage that is far greater than us. That thrills my soul knowing that is your heartbeat as well. I can’t wait to marry you! May God get all the glory for what He has done!