What Makes for a Beautiful Marriage

I’ve read quite a few stories of Christian weddings where the bride and groom kissed for the first time or were together as man and wife for the first time on their first night. My tears flowed at one time after reading one of those stories shared on Christian blogs. For isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Coming together for the very first time on your wedding night? That was also my fervent dream growing up. But somewhere between my young girl dream and marriage at 33, that idealism was lost completely. For the ways of the world never collide with the ways of holiness.

And so, looking back, even if the bride that I was was garbed in a designer wedding gown, rode on a stretched limousine, and me and my groom received guests at the grand ballroom of a 5-star hotel — I regretted the path we took to reach the altar. Crying one night, I told my husband how I wished we could remake that one single day and night in our lives and experience how it was to be a pure, blushing bride.

Then came the 2-year chasm in the marriage where the sin of adultery reigned. How can one redeem the beauty of a ruined marriage?

My answer is this: It starts with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other who can turn the ashes into beauty. He it is who makes a marriage sacred. In the flurry of our glitzy Catholic wedding, we had completely forgotten to invite Him into our lives. Thus, there was no blessing in the real sense of the word. But one solemn afternoon in our living room, me, dressed in a simple white suit and my husband in his barong tagalog, a preacher from our Church blessed us as husband and wife. It was our Christian wedding. And it was beautiful. Why? Because of the grace of the Lord which washed us from our sins and made us white as snow. Grace is beautiful. Forgiveness is its crown.

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Is. 61:3)

I have not seen a perfect marriage in my world from my childhood to adulthood. Everywhere I look (that is, the ones that I can look into),  I see flaws, some kind of ugliness, and some measure of pain. Our marriage is one of those. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry its own beauty. With the love and grace of the Lord, beauty can never be absent.

I see beauty whenever my husband assists to wash me. From the top of my head to the tip of my toes, he lovingly and efficiently bathes me while we talk. Sometimes we break down laughing and I will spray him with the shower head. Those are the times I’m strong. Sometimes, we’re quiet as I endure the whole process, sitting still in my wheelchair. Those are the times I’m weak and not feeling well.

I love to read and tell stories. My husband reads only the Holy Bible and the news. We’re completely opposing poles, like a cation and an anion (excuse the terminology, I’m a ChE anyway :) ). But he loves to listen to the stories I tell about the books I read. When I can’t sleep at night (and that’s often because of my discomforts), he either massages my legs or listens to my stories. There are nights I burst out laughing because of something I remembered while he stifles his huge yawns. Later on, he’ll be chuckling with me.

What makes for a beautiful marriage? It’s the Lord Jesus Christ who holds it together and showers it with His daily grace. It’s the love you share, at times sacrificial, at other times covering. However it looks like, it all emanates from His love.

At night when my husband is already snoring at my side, I marvel at the beauty of a man and a woman sleeping side by side in their marriage bed. Don’t you? (That’s for my married readers).

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I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,

A Tale of a Marriage

The bride wore a Larry Espinosa gown with the designer’s signature bodice made of a curve-flattering corset sprinkled with tiny Swarovski crystals. The skirt was luxurious satin, full and gloriously flowing with scattered Swarovski. It was elegant in its simplicity. Her hair and make-up was done by Leony Diaz. There was no excuse the bride wouldn’t look radiant. And she did! The Garden Ballroom of Edsa Shangri-la Manila was just perfect for the wedding reception. When bride and groom ascended the winding, grand staircase of the ballroom, one could imagine a girl’s fantasy coming true.

Four years passed and the same bride – now older, maybe wiser, but certainly ailing and weak – sat beside her groom (yes, same one) before a preacher as they received the Lord’s blessings as husband and wife. The bride now wore a simple white suit and a chiffon baby pink inner blouse. The whole ensemble was sewed by an elder dressmaker from their church. There was no glitter (she even forgot to pin a brooch!) and no rose bouquet. The couple’s daughter, now three years old, sat squeezed between them in the Queen Anne settee. The family’s living room was no match for the Garden Ballroom of Edsa Shangri-la, but the solemn occasion was graced with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was their Christian wedding.

There are marriages that are made in heaven (at least that’s what they claim!). Some are not as fortunate and they implode, leaving the shreds of their dream and hearts scattered about with no hope of being mended. And then there’s the marriage found in-between these two extremes: shattered but made whole again by God. Just like ours.

Between our fabulous Catholic wedding and our simple, Spirit-filled Christian one is 4 years of pain, heartbreaking problems, and eventual separation followed by wanton living. But at the end of it was God’s open arms and His offer of unconditional love, amazing grace for complete forgiveness and salvation, and a new life in Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

If you’ve ever doubted God’s love, even His existence, I’m here to tell you that He’s alive and knows everything about you! If you’ve been living in the in-between, waiting for a breakthrough in your life and problems, hanging in uncertainty and despondency, know that God has not forgotten you. For all you know, He  wants to use our story to call you to His embrace.

On Monday, April 28th, we’re celebrating 14 years of marriage. Others may claim years of wedded bliss with their best friends. Well, my husband and I can’t claim the same. But that doesn’t mean ours is not true and entire or that we should be ashamed of our past. On the contrary, we tell our story to give God the glory, that there’s nothing too hard for Him. Nothing is impossible with Him. He is in the business of fixing and mending and healing and you can count on it. We are celebrating because it is the Lord who makes our lives beautiful replete with sacrificial love and devotion, precious lessons, authenticity, and humble walk with Him.

My husband and I learned that a marriage cannot survive outside of the close guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecc. 4:12 NIV)

A cord of three strands: you, your spouse, and the Lord. Make Him the center of your marriage.

If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,