When Steve and I got married, fourteen years ago today, I read this stanza from Robert Browning to him:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid.”
People probably thought we were already there – old, I mean. Now we had someone to make the end of the journey with. One thing I discovered is that getting married later in life brings a special level of joy. Not only family and friends, but acquaintances and even strangers rejoiced with us. The way God brought us together seemed to infuse everyone with hope.
We’d both waited a long time, but we didn’t put life on hold. We lived to the fullest. When we got married, God didn’t rescue us from misery. He demonstrated His grace to us. A very tender and personal demonstration, but it was all grace. All God. We did nothing to earn it. He delights in giving His children good gifts and marriage is not the only gift. We were also lavished with His grace while we were single, because that’s what He does. We weren’t two incomplete people who needed marriage to become whole; we were made complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
I had heard the mixed messages for years. All the tips for how to get a guy to marry you. Pray more. Pray and fast. Stop praying and leave it in God’s hands. Get out there and make yourself available. Stop hunting. Change your personality to be quiet and gentle. (Couldn’t do it.) Get more self-confidence. Learn to cook. Lose weight. Get a new haircut. Men would tell me they married their wives because of their great beauty, and in the next breath, they’d say the internal qualities are all that matter. Please.
I knew there were No. Magic. Formulas. Nobody was privy to the “10 Easy Steps for Snagging a Mate.” I also observed it really wasn’t all that hard to get married, but waiting for the right one? Well, that could take years. And it did, for me.
The women I knew who were desperate for marriage often did end up finding it. Most people do. But being discontent with themselves while single, I wondered how they’d do trying to be happy in marriage, with all the same issues and baggage following them.
Fourteen years ago, our winter of waiting (not of discontent) ended. God joined my life to a wonderful man who I have the pleasure of growing old-er with. We heard the turtledoves warm up their voices that day. They’re still singing!
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along! (Song of Solomon 2:10-13)