The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for the mutual companionship, help, and support that each person ought to receive from the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Marriage was also ordained so that man and woman may find delight in one another… (from the order for Holy Matrimony in Lutheran Service Book)
A very brief interchange between my wife and I this morning reminded me of how blessed I am in my marriage. While spending my three-plus hours removing snow the other day I began listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. As she in her chair sat reading I mentioned in passing, “You’ll like this book that I’m listening to.” She looked up from her novel, eyebrows raised, curious: “What is it?” “Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about the the factors that characterize highly successful people.” “Hmmmm” was the simple reply, but it carried a tone that said much more: “If you’re finding it interesting I know I will, too. Another something for us to learn together…”
Whether reading for our Cana Book Club (We discussed Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs on Jan 15, 2012.) or for our own learning as parents, servants of the church, or citizens, among the things that attracted us to one another was a deep value congruence, natural curiosity, and hunger to learn together. We both delight in these things and—despite my capacity for being highly annoying—in one another.
Thus, this morning, I am giving thanks to Christ, who is the vine by which we branches find life and sustenance:
Lord God, heavenly Father, You instituted holy matrimony, blessed and honored it with the presence of Your Son at the marriage at Cana in Galilee, and continue to protect and preserve it. I thank You for the fatherly love and grace which You have bestowed upon Carrie and I throughout our marriage. You have accompanied us with loving-kindness and tender mercy, visited us with Your comfort, strengthened us in sorrow and sickness, and crowned our life with every blessing. You have enabled us to walk in marital love and fidelity, holding us to each other in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, and granted us strength, patience, and faithfulness. Be with us, O Lord, until the end of our days, even as You have guided us in the past. Be our health, strength, refuge, and life. When the days of our earthly pilgrimage have ceased, graciously bring us to the marriage supper of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that they we dwell with You and all Your faithful and rejoice in Your joy forever; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (adapted from the prayer for a marital anniversary (#528) in Lutheran Service Book)