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We were sitting next to a table of twenty-something women, a bridal party (at the inn we were staying at) for a weekend wedding.  They talked the details of the dresses, when the guests were arriving…they talked about life stuff, job interviews and parents.  And I remembered our own visit here 11 years ago, driving straight from our own wedding reception.  I wanted to go and sit and talk with these girls, hear their stories. Oh, how fun it is to be on the verge of something new and exciting!

Marriage, when done right, is full of bravery. On our first trip to this particular inn all those years ago, I really had no idea.

Marriage holds a mirror up to our faces, magnifies the flaws but also the beauty.  I was putting my makeup on the other night before we went for dinner and was thankful for the lighted mirror attached to the wall.  I could pull it out, flip a switch, and be able to really see what I was doing.   The commitment my husband and I have made to each other flips on that switch, illuminating the best and the worst.

We have three daughters, and are aware of the marriage example we are setting before them.  I often say that my husband was meant to be the father to all girls, because he is a wonderful example of what a godly man is.  He isn’t perfect, doesn’t claim to be, seeks forgiveness, and speaks honestly.  He also speaks words of life over me and our girls.  He draws out the best and handles the worst deftly, with the finesse and skill of a lion tamer. Oh, he has his days, believe you me.  We have had some great big downs in marriage and parenting, but he is nothing if not committed to growing.

I am aware that I am setting an example of what a wife is to our girls.  My husband asks from time to time, “I wonder, if our girls get married,  what type of man they will end up with?”  My standard answer is always, “Someone like you!” Maybe he won’t be a pastor or a musician…maybe he’ll be more of an outdoor adventurer or an accountant, but most importantly I hope he’ll love Jesus.  That’s what really matters.  It takes a secure man to love a strong woman.

I want our girls to know that marriage won’t be what fulfills them, and their journey to marriage-if they have one at all-will look different than ours.  But this marriage thing really is such a gift.  I heard a pastor say once that if folks are to ever write their own vows, the best thing to be able to say would be, “I cannot be the person God created me to be without you.”  I know that’s true for my husband and I.  On our own, we can do good things for the kingdom of God, but together…together, we can do more.