photograph by Lili Ditmer

Just Married

It’s wedding week or something.  I’ve got 8 friends that have all gotten married this past week and another couple tying the knot today, too.  So this is for all of them and anybody else taking the plunge.  (And if you’re already plunged, unplunged, ex-plunged or plunging again, maybe there’s something you’ll get out of it, too.)


I am so excited for both of you and your life and ministry together.

I am blessed to call you friends and it is from that blessing that I give you permission to do the following:

Ask for help.  You do NOT have to do it on your own.  You do NOT have to know all the answers.  You do NOT have to be perfect.  You do NOT have to do it the way it has always been done.  You do NOT have to fake it.  There are people all around you who are willing to help, but only ask the cool ones who have all the answers and who have never made any mistakes…  Exactly.

Be yourself, always.  Everything about you was wired the way the guy who put the stars in the sky wanted it to be.  He also made the platypus and the dodo bird, so don’t take yourself too seriously.  Don’t wonder what William Booth would do.  Don’t worry about what the TC, or the DC (read “your boss”) would do. Just.Be.You.  And you’ll be ok.

Trust.  Trust your call.  Trust your instincts.  Trust your partner.  Trust your parents.  Trust your understanding.  Trust the Spirit in your lives.  Trust.  Trust.  Trust.  More than anything, trust the One who called you.  Second, trust yourself.

Listen first.  Listening never got anybody fired.  Listening never got anybody arrested.  Listening never started wars or fistfights.  Listening isn’t a problem, it’s a solution.  Listening is hugging someone with your ears.

Never stop feeling. Cry when tragedy strikes.  Feel for the broken.  Have compassion on the stubborn and the stupid (especially the stupid).  Weep for the things that break the Lord’s heart.  Laugh at the things that bring him joy.  Get angry when people hurt the body and when they turn the temple into something it’s not.  Celebrate victory.  Hug winners and losers.

Seek Him always.  Among the poor and the rich.  With the well and the sick.  In the shadow and the light.  In the obvious and between the lines.  At dedications and funerals.  At enrollments and retirements.  In all things, at all times, in all ways, Seek Him.  He’s there.

Love deeply.  To love is the closest to grace we can come in this life.  To love is to forgive and to be forgiven.  To love is to see what they don’t see and not judge them.  To love is to put someone else before yourself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…  Yeah, it’s annoying.  That’s almost the point.

Love each other more than anyone else.  More than the Army.  More than doctrine.  More than the Church.  More than life itself.  Be Christ to your bride.  She’s going to need to see it in you more than anyone else and it isn’t anyone else’s job. (And vice versa…)  See Christ in your husband.  Look for Him.  Seek Him out.  Hunt Him down if necessary, because sometimes he won’t see Christ in himself and he’ll need you to.  (And vice versa…)

It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.  It’s worth every bit of hard work that it will demand of you.  It’s worth every drop of blood and sweat and every tear.  It’s worth every headache, every long day and every sore and tired muscle.

You were made for each other… in the good moments and in the arguments.  You were called to be together, anointed to serve together, and perfectly fit to one another… sometimes too perfectly.  And sometimes you’ll be all too aware of your own perfection and the other’s serious lack thereof…

Be humble.  Smile and laugh together.  Make a funny face to break the tension.  Hug more than you think you should.  Kiss just for fun (I know, it’s hard…) Hold her during sad parts of movies.  Hold him during scary parts of movies… or whatever works for you.

Have fun together.  And have FUN together.  (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

And pray together. Always pray together.  Prayer fixes things.  Prayer speaks volumes so you don’t have to.  Prayer gives you a chance to talk to somebody else about stuff and to listen to somebody else about stuff and to realize that sometimes God laughs at us and sometimes He laughs with us.

Pray together.  I know I said it already, but I mean it.  It’s the one thing that will hold your marriage together when everything is falling apart.  It’s the one thing that your kids will remember when they grow up.  It’s the one thing that will calm you down, pump you up, sort you out and suck you back in.  It’s not cliche.  It’s not cheesy.  It’s freakin’ prayer.  It’s breathing the name of God.  It’s speaking yourself into His will.  It’s embracing His presence.  Yeah.  It’s freakin’ prayer.

Love and biscuits.  Because contrary to popular belief, love is not all you need.  Peeps still get hungry and food fixes a lot of problems.  So I say love and biscuits.  And maybe some lemonade or iced tea to wash it down.




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