I was you, once upon a time, back what seems to be an amazingly long time ago. I wasn't so very young, although 22 seems a lot younger now than it did then, but I was very innocent. Maybe I should use the word naive, but I don't think it was that so much as innocence. In a lot of ways, I was like a small child who just doesn't know.....well, a lot of things!
I look at you, and I wonder, do you know?
Do you have any idea what it's like to become one with this man, to leave all and make a new unit, just the two of you? Do you have any concept of this man's deepest longings, how he'll crave your implicit trust and respect and you being his and his alone? Do you know that, in the same way that you want him to love you whether you're doing everything just right, you should submit to him whether he's loving you right or not? Do you have any grasp at all of the importance of sex to a man, how your willingness to give yourself wholly to him in this way makes him, in turn, want to move heaven and earth for his lady? Do you realize the vast difference in a man's needs from those of your own, do you realize how differently you think?
I wonder, have you had any bumps in your road yet - any arguments, any disagreements? Has he criticized your family, or you his? Has he done something you just really don't like, said something that hurt you down deep? Has the realization of all that will be expected of you, all that will be new and different, seeped into your blissful bubble at all?
I was you, once upon a time, and I sat in someone's wedding service, holding my brand new husband's hand, and the preacher kept repeating, "Marriage is hard work!" That phrase has been flung around as a joke in many conversations these past, almost 14, years. I know what the preacher was saying, and I'm assuming you do too. Marriage is not all rosy cheeks and shining eyes and beautiful bouquets of roses and knights in shining armour, of course not! But, excuse me for disagreeing dear preacher, marriage is not hard work either.
Is washing dishes hard work? Cleaning the toilet? Sweeping the floor? Not really. Do I always feel like doing them? No! Marriage isn't really hard work either, we just don't always feel like doing it! Marriage is only hard work if we make it hard work, dear Brand New Bride. When your heart is concentrated on loving your spouse, marriage is an easy job! When your eyes are turned upward and outward; when your focus is on what can I do for him? What does he need? What can I do to fulfill his deepest desires? marriage becomes a work of love. It's only when my focus turns downward and inward and all I can see is what would make me happy, what do I need, what would fulfill my deepest desires, that marriage becomes hard work. And, in all honesty, far too often my eyes are prone to the downward and inward position, and I know far too well what it's like to have marriage become hard work! But it doesn't need to be.
I was you, once upon a time, dear Brand New Bride, and if I could go back, I would choose to be you again. In spite of all the bumps and the lessons and the things to learn along the way, I would be you again in a heart beat! So, while looking at you makes me look back fondly and causes me to wonder, do you know? I wouldn't trade being a bride for anything. You will know, dear Brand New Bride, someday you will know. For now, embrace the innocence and be willing to learn. It doesn't all come in one big package, it comes in small, little snatches as you become one with this man you have chosen to marry. I have no doubt that, should the Lord grant me 14 more years as a bride, I will look back and say "do you know?" to the brides of only 14 years!
I was you, once upon a time, dear Brand New Bride. To you, I wish the very best of marriages! May the sheer bliss and happiness in your heart today carry you through the years. And, when marriage becomes "hard work" as it will sometime down the distant road, remember that it doesn't have to, and turn your eyes upward and outward and let it become a work of love.
All the Best to You,
*While it's true that adding a new sister-in-law this week end has stimulated my thoughts along this line, this is not necessarily written specifically to her...