This Valentine’s Day marks the fifth year my wife and I have been celebrating this holiday together. This year looks a little bit different. With a baby arriving this summer, we’re in a bit of a transition as this is the last time it’ll be just us in our family. As I look ahead at what’s to come, it gives me a good reason to pause and to look back at the wonderful story the Lord has written for us, and to look ahead with joy at what’s to come.
On our first Valentine’s Day, we had only been dating for a couple months. Everything was new to us and we were still getting to know one another. I still remember planning a surprise trip to see her since she was out of town that weekend. When I showed up with flowers and chocolate in hand, the smile on her face reminded me that she would always be the one for me.
The next year was a time of stress and anxiety for us, as we had been engaged for over two months and still hadn’t decided on a wedding date. We didn’t know what was in store for the future. I had no jobs lined up, no place to live, and I would be graduating a year before her. For a while, I thought we’d have to wait another year to get married (honestly, I prayed against it- the Lord hears our prayers!), but God provided. Even in the midst of all this, I knew she would always be the one for me.
For three years now, we’ve celebrated this day. Each year, I think about how my love for her has grown- something I didn’t realize was actually possible when I said “I do.” Marriage is interesting in that way- not filled with the drama of butterflies, but with a love that is quieter and deeper serving as a foundation for a life together can sometimes only be described as “normal”. This isn’t a bad thing, but a beautiful thing. Emotions come and go, but the covenant we made is meant to be for a lifetime.
Naturally, that’s where my mind goes next- to the lifetime in store. I don’t know what God has for us; I’m learning to trust Him more than trying to figure out what’s years down the road. But as I consider these things and think ahead, I want this marriage to be marked by faithfulness. I want to look across the table at my bride in ten years, knowing that she’s the one. Then twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, and even more. One day, I want to look into her eyes, think of all the memories we’ve shared, and be able to say “We did it.”
I know it will be no small accomplishment to remain faithful. In fact, to have a marriage that stands the test of time is one of the most radical and counter-cultural things we can do as Believers in this fallen world. To be faithful is to paint a picture of a Savior who is faithful and has given Himself up for His bride, the church. This is the reminder Paul gives to husbands in Ephesians 5:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.Ephesians 5:26-28,
These verses give me hope. These verses remind me that I can be faithful in a world where infidelity is pushed upon us from nearly every angle without ceasing. Paul’s reminder is one that shows where we can find the fullness of all our marriages are to be, but the road there isn’t easy. Christ give Himself up for us, living a perfect life and dying on the cross for us. He won the victory and purified all who would come to Him in saving faith.
Then, He empowers us. This is the beauty; this is the hope. In Christ, I’m empowered with everything I need to reach that day where I can know that we made it. Where we can smile and see how God cultivated our love for one another. He gave us everything we needed to beat the odds.
At times, it can be easy to despair what’s ahead, but if I’m honest, I’m excited. He has been faithful to us before and will be faithful in what’s to come. Our story together is a reminder of this hope.