Sunday, December 28, 2014

22 Years

Today I celebrate 22 years of marriage to my wonderful husband!
December 28, 1992 Mount Hermon, California
 22 years of love
22 years of struggle
22 years of laughs
22 years of tears
22 years of "for worse"
22 years of "for better"
22 years of learning and growing
22 years of blessing
22 years of AMAZING!
22 years of "existing"
22 years of embracing each other
22 years of choosing Christ
22 years of right choices, wrong choices, togetherness, isolation, reconciliation, affection, prayer, miracles, seeking and finding.

Marriage is not what is portrayed in movies.  It is not Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth or Emma and Mr. Knightly.  It is not "once upon a time" or "happily every after".  Marriage is a roller coaster, a steep path, a chaotic mess of stress, emotions and experiences.  It is a "walk in the park" on a perfect day, a welcome comfort and peaceful respite. Marriage is a covenant.  It is a sacrament! 

My marriage has been full of choices.  Before we got married we decided we did not believe in divorce (a statement that had been made by my grandparents).  That word has never been part of our arsenal when things get heated.  For us that has meant that we have to figure out how to keep walking when things are hard.  I know that divorce is not always avoidable, but in our marriage, keeping that word out of our vocabulary has meant we have had to learn to humble ourselves and climb mountains even when there didn't seem to be any strength left to climb.  This has allowed us to see the Lord do mighty things and bring us to crystal streams to drink from that we didn't know existed...and we have been refreshed. 

I am so thankful my husband has loved me all these years.  I am thankful for the blessing of children along the way.  22 years ago I said "I do" with all my heart and I am SO thankful I still mean it today.
May God grant us many many years!

Bonnie Johnstone's photo.
22 Years has grown us as lovers, parents and individuals.  Thanks be to God for all things!

Traditional Prayer for a Married Couple

O Merciful God, we beseech You ever to remind us that the married state is holy, and that we must keep it so. Grant us Your grace, that we may continue in faithfulness and love. Increase in us the spirit of mutual understanding and trust, that no quarrel or strife may come between us. Grant us Your blessings, that we may stand before our fellows and in Your sight as an ideal family. And finally, by Your mercy, account us worthy of everlasting life: For You are our sanctification, and to You we ascribe glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Prayer by Archimandrite Nicodim (Mandita)
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, our Sweet Savior, who taught us to pray always for each other, so that by thus fulfilling the holy law we will be made worthy of Your mercy: look down with compassion on our married life and keep from all perilous falls, from enemies both visible and invisible, my husband/wife whom You have granted me, that we may pass our time together until the end with oneness of mind. Grant him/her health, strength, and fullness of wisdom enlightened from above, so that he/she may be able to fulfill his/her duties all the days of this life according to Your will and commandments. Protect and keep him/her from temptations, and may he/she be able to bear and conquer those temptations that come upon him/her. Strengthen him/her in right faith, strong hope, and perfect love, so that together we may do good deeds and that we may order all our life according to Your divine ordinances and commandments.

O Greatly-Merciful Lord, hear us who humbly pray to You, and send Your divine blessing in truth on our married life and on all our good deeds, for it is Yours to hear and have mercy on us, O our God, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer for a Husband
O Christ our God, thank You for my husband. Thank You for the talents and skills You have placed in Him. Help me to love him unconditionally and to be an encouragement to him. When challenges come, allow us to face them together with mutual respect. Let my help to him be as an offering to You, O Lord, and let him love me as You love Your Church. Grant us protection from any external or internal attack that would compromise the covenant we made. Help me to be quick to forgive any shortcomings, remembering that we are both in need of Your salvation. Grant us the strength to endure any trial or temptation, drawing closer together and closer to You. For You are our Light and Salvation, and to You we ascribe glory, to the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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