Monday, October 12, 2009

Until Death Do Us Part

In Western culture we believe that marriage is a union between two people and that union can only be separated by death. Pretty stiff penalty for sticking out a life that should be hallmarked with marital bliss. But it signifies the solemnity of a vow that should be made with the intent - to love and cherish despite any unforseen circumstances short of death. 

As a witness to my niece's wedding recently, I heard the minister charge all of us in attendance to see that those vows are honored. She eluded that it was our concern that this young couple have every opportunity to comply with these vows and our duty as loving friends and family to help them do so. This really struck me as I heard my niece and her groom say "I do" indicating they understood and agreed to these vows. It is my charge then, to offer support to mend rather than end from this day forward. After thirty eight years of marriage, I still take the vows I made seriously. There were no crystal balls handed out at my wedding, nor the 20/20 visions of hindsight. And yet, I knew that perfect marriages exist only in fairy tales and that better or worse was bound to come our way. Both have come our way and as at the end of every storm, there comes sunshine. 

I came home from the wedding and looked up the familiar Corinthians verse. Perhaps on their anniversaries, married couples should read the words again as a reminder that although the vows seem easily spoken in the white gowns and tuxedos of the day, that repeating them when the bouquet has wilted and the cake is eaten, may be an even more significant pledge of unity. 

Therefore, for your consideration, read this fine print.

If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

And that's precisely what a wise grandma will do, until death do her part.

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