This past Sunday was our 29th anniversary. On the day we got married, the minister – David Lewis Beebe, a United Church minister in Chattanooga – gave us a copy of the service and told us to reread it each year on our anniversary. This past Sunday was the 28th time we have done so.
I wanted to share with you some of the service, where he describes the marriage bond
This bond of unity is not one of bondage, once made and never changing, but a bond of intimacy which must be constantly renewed in the trust which risks the injury of love. Marriage is not established only upon the wedding day, though it is solemnized and celebrated then. But is is a process of discovery and deepening experience.
Marriage, when founded in abiding love and a constant striving to build a relationship whose structure is beautiful and enduring, is a bond of creative living that leads to a growing faith in the possibilities of life. Enriched by deep experiences of joy and pain, the husband and wife discover new sources of power and inspiration which can be poured into the upbuilding of life around them.
These words made me think about the work that is involved in making a strong marriage, but also they are life lessons for all of us.
May no dark cloud of doubt obscure the clear light of their devotion, and no ray disenchantment of the years have power to stifle their dreams.
Teach them to master the high and holy art of unselfishness, that they may constantly grow in their togetherness. Grant that each may think less of rights and more of responsibilities; so may they overcome all self-centeredness and find fulfillment in building up one another in love.
Make them wise to weigh the values of life, that they may never slay the great things for the sake of any littleness or neglect the little things for the sake of any false greatness.
Thank you, David, for this lasting gift you have given both of us.