My daughter and son-in-law (or more accurately my "son-in-love") are celebrating their very first anniversary today. It's been a year of growing for them, so today I want to post here a letter I wrote a few days after their wedding.
My precious Lyndell,
You were so beautiful, so radiantly and stunningly beautiful! Of all the images I will carry with me of your wedding, the most prominent one will be your incredible beauty. You literally glowed. I found myself watching your face and marveling. I confess that, while I peeked at Daniel a time or two, I could not tear my eyes away from you for long. I did not wish for my little girl back, I was not sad time passed so quickly. Instead, I sat amazed at how this day marked the culmination of so many hopes and dreams – your own as well as the ones your dad and I had carried from the day you were born. I thought I would be a jumble of emotions. Instead, I simply enjoyed your loveliness, especially since I know it comes from the inside.
You have blossomed into the woman your father and I always hoped you would be. The confidence you carry comes from many sources: your career, your independence, your solid Christian faith, and from marrying a man who “gets” you and loves you completely.
Perhaps I was too busy to really feel everything, because tears are rolling down my cheeks now. I am so desperately proud of you. You envisioned your wedding, planned with the precision of an Army general, and it all came together (despite the tablecloth debacle) with the help of a literal battalion of friends and family. There are so many people to thank, but what amazed me was how many people were doing their parts simply out of love for you and Daniel. You two inspire deep love and loyalty, which speaks volumes about the kind of people you are.
So congratulations on a truly wonderful wedding ceremony. May it always be a shining memory.
I want to reiterate the advice I gave you a couple nights before the wedding and add a few things I forgot. As a wife, you hold in the palm of your hands the heart and soul of a man. It is a fearsome responsibility. He will listen to you as he will listen to no other person. Be sure your counsel is Godly and comes from a place centered on Daniel’s best interests. Your respect and admiration for him will anchor his spirit. He will be able to withstand the slings and arrows of anyone and everyone else so long as you still admire him. Conversely, without your admiration, all the praise and respect coming from others will ring hollow and only serve to crush him more since it does not echo from your lips.
Let your praise be public and your reproof be private. Prefer him over all others, but do not forsake your own friends and interests. Find a balance between your individual interests and those you share. He will need his own space and breathing room within the circle of your togetherness, as will you.
Choose your friends wisely. Cultivate friends, both married and single, who support your commitment to honor each other and God through the fulfillment of your vows. Figure out how Biblical submission looks in your marriage. The power of your influence coupled with his headship and both of you submitting to God’s ultimate authority is a picture of the trinity and will be the closest some will ever get to seeing heaven on earth.
Love his family as fully as you love your own. Over time, friends will change and move in and out of your life, family will outlast them all. Do not use anger or irritation as an excuse to say things you should not. Harsh words and name-calling drops a stone between you. You may apologize for it later, but it will still be there. You can maneuver around a few stones here and there, but drop too many and you build an impenetrable wall. The light in your eyes and joy in your spirit are the greatest compliments you can pay him, so let the full radiance of both shine in your home and community.
You are the heart and soul of the home. Make it a safe place for his heart to rest and find solace. Learn how to love him and teach him how to love you. Loving someone else does not always come naturally. Some things will come easily, others will take years of trial and error, forgiveness and patience, and lots of communication. Finally, you alone are responsible before God for your character and witness. And you are not God; Daniel’s character and witness are not your responsibility. Remember always to put God first and Daniel second. Do not confuse the two and do not get them out of order, and all other things will fall into place.
The wedding was beautiful, may the marriage be even more so.