wedding promises

Two family weddings last weekend have gotten me thinking. One wedding I attended. I was not invited to the other wedding.
The wedding I did attend celebrated the marriage of the son of the man who loves me. It was a beautiful ceremony, uniting two people who have nurtured their relationship for nearly five years. What a joy it was to witness them committing their lives to each other and to know that they understood the significance of their promises! And how glad I am to have promised, along with the others present, to pray for them and to walk beside them in their journey of marriage. These two, while so deeply in love, will have challenges, as all married couples do. And, as many young couples do now, they also have the challenge of coming from homes broken by abuse, adultery, heartache and divorce.
But these two will have a good marriage, most likely a great one. It will be different from the marriages of their parents because they are both committed to Jesus and will serve each other as they depend on the Holy Spirit to guide and enable them. And some of us who attended the wedding will actually do what we promised to do – pray for them, walk alongside them and support them in their efforts to have a beautiful, life-long marriage.
The other wedding, the one to which I was not invited, was the wedding of my former nephew, the son of my ex-husband’s brother. I expect these two will also have a very good marriage. They too are both followers of Jesus, and I suspect they will depend on the Holy Spirit to guide and enable them. I think it’s also likely that those who attended the wedding promised to pray for them and support them in their efforts. I don’t know the bride, but I do know the groom. His parents have been married to each other for 40 years. He doesn’t have the background of divorce to cause him to wonder if his marriage will last. And he doesn’t know the heartache that abuse and adultery can bring.
I will pray for this young couple as well. I knew the groom before he was born and was his aunt for the first 20 years of his life. I wish I could walk the journey with them as well, but I’m no longer part of the family. His parents, his siblings, his aunts and uncles, all of whom attended my wedding, promised to pray for me and my husband, their brother and uncle, and promised to walk alongside us and give us support. But when the road got rocky and the path was filled with the thorns of abuse and narcissism, they decided that blood was thicker than that promise. They didn’t want to take sides and didn’t want to hear the truth. They didn’t want to confront their brother for his sin and the abandoning of his wife and children so he could “move on with his life” and not have to change his heart and actions. This family decided that their sister-in-law and niece and nephews were not as important to them as the man who abused them. They wanted to believe the lies rather than the truth, that the marriage couldn’t have been that bad, that the “differences” could have been worked out, that marriage should always be for life, and that divorce is always a sin.
But I will live differently in light of my experience. I will pray for these couples, and I will walk with the couple who will allow me to do so. And if the path grows rocky and thorny, I will help them to remove the obstacles and clear the path. I will keep my promise.

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