Laughter floated in the air as food was prepared and decorations set. Flowers filled the entry ways, overflowed from vases on the mantel, tables and all around our home. Friends and family gathered yesterday to shower my daughter with blessings as she prepares to enter this new season of life and celebrate the upcoming marriage to her fiance. What a joyous time it was. We saw faces we hadn’t seen in years. Some came from far away, others from down the road. My sweet aunt who was married to her love for 74 years was there. Some newly marrieds and some who will be someday came too.

Along with lots of wonderful gifts for her home, our friends and family brought their love and blessings with them. My friend told us a beautiful story and shared some things she wish she’d known as a young bride. Then I prayed for my daughter.

It didn’t take long for me to settle on what to pray for her in her marriage. Her father and I celebrated 23 years of marriage the day before her shower so I was thinking of our story as I was thinking about how to pray.

Twenty three years ago in a small wedding chapel in Tennessee we vowed to love each other.

We promised to love each other when times were good and when they weren’t. To love each other in times of sickness and wellness, during feast or famine, and highs and lows.

We laugh now at the kids we were then because we thought we had it figured out. Now we know we still don’t have it figured out.

But we’re learning. We’re growing together, loving each other, and getting better and better at it. We’re keeping the promises.

We’ve experienced abundant joy and faced tragedy; enjoyed many blessings and walked through painful seasons. And we’ve done it for 23 years.

We’re better because of each other and for each other.

I began the prayer for my daughter with Ephesians 4:32. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

It’s not the typical marriage verse but I know from 23 years that when my husband and I are practicing this, we’re doing well. When we’re not following it, things aren’t as good as they can be.

I prayed for her the same things I ask for myself:

“Father, thank You that we can come to You with confidence and know You hear us. Thank You for our friends and family gathered here to celebrate our daughter’s life. And thank You for the divine gift of marriage.

Father, You promise to give us all we need to do what You’ve called us to do. Draw her near to You. May she look to You for guidance and wisdom as she grows into the woman You’ve called her to be.

You call us to kind actions and words but Your desire is not that we just do kind acts but that our hearts are tender which leads to kindness. God, keep her heart tender. Let her eyes be fixed on You and may she remember Your kindness and extravagant love toward her.

Give her a wholehearted love for You, Father. Because as her love for You grows, so will the love for her husband.”

And we all said, “Amen.”

 

“Love is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.”   C.S. Lewis

 

photo by Markie Pearson Photography