Amidst the beauty of a temperate spring day, with the backdrop of a lake as blue as the sky, and a floral palette of dusty blues and burgundies, I had the privilege of celebrating, with family and friends this last Saturday, at my son’s wedding reception. He and his wife got married last May in the midst of Covid restrictions, so at that time, they had a small ceremony with only immediate family and three of their friends at a local park. It was a quiet, peaceful, joyful, and almost magical day, last May, but Saturday became just as special.
During the vow renewal, they had each read fresh, tender vows that moved everyone in attendance, and in my heart I know that they will make it as a couple. With a good grasp on what it means to love and much experience already, they both pledged to move forward in life together, come what may, exemplifying sacrificial love to each other and sharing the stability of commitment.
My Blessing and Words to My Son and His Wife:
This is a short speech I had prepared for the reception, but it didn’t work out for me to share it. I’d like to publicly share it here:
To my son: first, I’d like to say how proud I am of the man you’ve become. Much like your father, anyone who knows you can see that you are hardworking, kind, genuine, have a heart of integrity, and have a good head on your shoulders. But I’ve never been prouder of you, than seeing the way you love your son and wife. May God bless you in your roles as husband and Father.
But however grown-up you may be, I want you to know that your father and I will be here whenever you need us. We love you, dearly.
To my daughter-in-law: you’ve been a part of our family since you first walked into our lives, but I am glad that this last year and again today we can claim you as an official member.
You are a joy to everyone who knows you, gracious, caring, tender-hearted, and beautiful inside and out, you’ve brought so much richness into our lives, and we look forward to the years to come as family, together. We could not have chosen a better wife for our son.
To them both: although you’ve been together for over eight years and have gone through and shared a lot already, life still has much more to come. More joys. More tough times. And more opportunities to love and care for each other.
This is a poem I wrote thirteen years ago, when my son was just 11. And I would have never imagined I would share this at his wedding, but I think it sums up the heart of what it means to truly love someone.
The Heart of the Matter
The heart of the matter, keeping us together ,
that is more about you than me —
a mutual stretching of arms ,
protecting in life’s storms ,
lighthouse love ,
that watches out for each other .
The breath of an artist , bending hot glass s,
shaping love ,
using the flame to form beauty .
An eye in the darkness ,
seeing through life’s stresses ,
hopeful love ,
giving faith in the midst of uncertainty .
The steady spin of the day , moving us on our way ,
lasting love ,
that is as sure as the dawn.
I pray for your lives together and in your marriage that you will exemplify to each other the acts of: humbly sacrificing your own wants for the sake of your spouse, sheltering each other in the storms, speaking wisdom to each other when needed, shaping and sharpening each other, pointing to hope and faith when one of you needs encouragement, and having the security of knowing that you’ll always be there for each other, as long as you live. Many Blessings on your life ahead.
Love can mean so many things to different people, but I believe at the core it should always contain selflessness. As the well-known Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 goes… “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Dear Reader, I hope and pray that you’ve been shown this kind of love and that you’ve shown others this kind of love. We all fall short of the mark sometimes, but I do know Someone who doesn’t. Jesus laid down his life in the ultimate sacrifice for our sake that we might be called the sons and the daughters of God.
Though as humans we are all made in his likeness, we have a choice to accept Jesus’s sacrifice, the debt of death we all must pay, to live past this life and be included in God’s eternal family. I’m praying for you as you read this, and I hope you have or will experience the joy of belonging to the family of God.