A potential promise in every vow and kiss

Published 4:00am Sunday, May 5, 2013

By Dr. James Troglen
Lately I have done a lot of weddings. I enjoy them not only due to the beautiful dresses and great food, but because it is fun watching two people get into something they know absolutely nothing about. It’s true, no matter the preparation, study and pre-marital classes you take you’re never ready for what marriage entails.
Two people usually enter marriage with wide-eyed dreams and fantasy that have little to do with reality. Weddings allow, for a moment, two people to live in the fantasy that everything is perfect and that nothing can affect their union.
The truth is marriage is very hard work. The blending of two lives takes time and some pain, but it is worth every second of effort.
I once did a wedding in which I had to take a hard line. The bride wanted the vows to be changed. That in itself is not bad, but she wanted the vows to say “We vow to stay together until our love dies.”
I refused to do the service unless the vows said “until death do us part.” After a little arguing I won – is that such a surprise for those of you who know me? It helped that the service was the next day.
Whether their marriage lasted until death or not, I would not perform a service that started a marriage on the premise their love would die. Marriage should be entered into with the expectation and determination that it will last “until death do us part.”
I know, I know, sometimes they don’t and I don’t have enough space to discuss all the reasoning behind that, but at least start right!
Marriage can be hard. My wife has a car tag she regularly breaks out when I am difficult (me?). It says “All men are jerks and I married their king.” After she cools off, or I grovel long enough, she removes the tag.
Marriage is sacred to God and should be entered into properly, and with wide- open eyes. It should also have a determination about it that the two will work to resolve their problems, not cut and run at the first sign of trouble.
I once read of a man who had gone to his doctor to have some stitches removed from his thumb. He told the nurse he had an appointment he could not miss at 9 a.m.
Getting him in to be seen was a bit lengthy and a nurse saw him looking at his watch. Not being too busy she took him on in to remove the stitches.
While preparing everything for the procedure, she engaged him in some idle chatter. “Did you have another doctor’s appointment somewhere else?” He said, “No, I have to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with my wife.”
The nurse inquired as to her health to which he responded that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. The nurse asked if she would be worried if he was late.
The old gent replied, “She no longer knows who I am, she has not recognized me for five years now.” The nurse was surprised and asked him “And you still go every morning?” The elderly gentleman with moist eyes patted the nurse’s hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”
Later in talking to another nurse she said, “That’s the kind of love I want in my life.”
True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be and will not be. The happiest of marriages don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything that comes their way.
I love weddings because of the potential promise in every vow and kiss.
Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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