I find joy when I witness young love.
This year, we attended several weddings, learned of engagements, and witnessed friendships blossom into romance.
It’s nice to watch these young couples. They are filled with love and excited to begin their lives together.
A few weeks ago, we attended a wedding that was held in a historic church. At the reception, our table was situated on top of a hill, giving us an unobstructed view of all the other guests.
We laughed when one woman observed that we were sitting at the “old married couples’ table.” Throughout the evening, we shared stories of how we met, reminisced about the early days of our marriages, told how we knew the bride and groom, and listened to stories about the young couple.
It was easy to make new friends with our table mates and try to guess which one of the young couples would get married next.
The other day, while I sorted through pictures from that day, I thought about the other weddings I’ve attended, how I have always felt a sense of wonder and magic during wedding ceremonies, and believed everyone held a sincere wish that the couple’s new beginning would bring great things.
The expectation of their new life together filled with adventures, discoveries, excitement, and joy.
The prayer for their peace in knowing their best friend would stand next to them as their life unfolded.
I feel honored to be present during these wonderful times.
To cherish the memories of feeling giddy after being newly married. To thank God for the vows, the covenant made in His presence with family and friends supporting us. To remain grateful for the people who celebrated with us and promised to support us and pray for us throughout our married life.
Just like the young couples I mentioned, I have family and friends enduring the other phase of marriage. Older couples upholding their vows after forty or fifty years of marriage and reaching out for prayers and support.
They remember their promises to stick it out in good times and bad, through any financial upheavals, and through any medical crises that comes their way.
These couples face dementia, chronic pain, cancer, and taking care of elderly parents and children at the same time.
Sometimes at these weddings, it’s hard to watch a couple sitting quietly and holding hands, watching the activities going on around them, while only one of them can comprehend the beauty of the moment.
Other times, it’s inspiring to watch the support a wife gives to her disabled husband. She helps him into the reception hall, where they sit during the festivities. They talk with everyone around them, and it is obvious they are happy to be included, to see the bride and groom dance, and to share a slice of cake.
HOPE is present with these couples, as well.
Their hope is rooted in God’s love and the promises found in His word. In the shared history of their lives, lived through the years with God as their anchor.
I find it interesting to compare these two times in a couple’s life. Even though they seem vastly different, they are the same, because both stages are based on HOPE.
Whether these couples are just beginning their lives together or facing the separation that death brings, they must trust God to see them through; to give them the courage to link their lives to Him; and to develop their faith in His love.
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can trust Him no matter what trials enter our lives. He promises to love us and never leave us. We can depend on His faithfulness; lean into the power of His Spirit; and seek His wisdom and guidance.
We can look at our challenges in the same way as those older couples view the difficulties in their lives. Unexpected hardships and problems should lead us to cling to God, knowing He will help us.
We never expect to have a chronic illness, lose our job, bury a child, or watch a parent waste away mentally. Life’s troubles arrive unexpectedly, filling us with anxiety, fear, and dread. In these moments, we must remember to cast our cares on God and let His peace become our strength.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord