As I look at the wedding invitations I've received this summer and think of my own daughter's recent marriage, my heart is overjoyed for these brides-to-be. How I wish I could share what I've learned over the years as a "Mrs." to help them start their own journeys! Though I can't personally meet with each one, or share with the many others who'll be walking down the aisle soon, here is my heartfelt letter to them . . .
Dear beloved bride,
How you must be joyfully anticipating the blessed day when you finally become a "Mrs!" As all brides-to-be who've gone before, you must wonder what the future holds and marvel at a new storyline being written about "us" instead of "me."
Your Beauty Radiates from Jesus
The most radiant of all brides is a woman who exalts and loves the Lord above anyone or anything else. Your beauty in its truest sense resonates deep from your Spirit. God has been preparing you for this day since you were born. Every joy shared, every tear shed. Every triumph and trial, every step of obedience and prayerful dilemma have all been instruments in the Designer's artistic hands to fashion you as a glistening reflection of Jesus.
To resemble your Savior as a wife will mean to adopt . . .
- Jesus' sacrificial love to remain warm toward your husband when he isn't loving toward you.
- Jesus' servant nature when you're tired of thankless jobs like picking up his dirty socks yet again.
- Jesus' gentle and humble heart when you're tempted to tell your husband how to improve himself (without his invitation).
- Jesus' submission when you follow your husband even though you disagree, and it's hard.
Dying to yourself, dear daughter, and placing your sole trust in your heavenly Father are beautiful acts of becoming the excellent wife God purposed you to be. Believe me, Christ is worth it!
Your Unity as a Couple Tells the Gospel
Marriage is a divine gift. The apostle Paul calls marriage a mystery because it symbolizes the union and love relationship of Christ and His beloved Bride, the Church (Eph. 5:31–33). Never lose sight of the real meaning of marriage. Be willing to fight for it.
Marriage is sacred and tells a far more glorious story of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. As true as ever before, the world desperately needs not only to hear it but to witness it, through a thriving complementary relationship between a man and a woman.
A husband is given the responsibility to lead and love you in a Christ-like way, but he will do so imperfectly. (The only perfect bridegroom is Jesus.) Even so, our calling as wives to respect and honor husbands isn't dependent upon their performance. As we look to Christ, our noble response is to be kind, amenable (willing to yield), and submissive. With enthusiastic encouragement, step back to give your spouse room to lead, provide, and protect (and to keep growing!) according to his God-given calling.
Your husband will need gospel grace extended to him each day. It won't be easy to lavish grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love in the same manner as we've received from the Lord, but this is what we're joyfully chosen to do.
Precious wife-to-be, you've been given to your husband as his helpmate to accomplish what he cannot do alone (Gen. 2:18). Your partnership strengthens him to bring glory to God, and in the process, you fulfill your esteemed role as a wife.
Your Home Is a Refuge
If you are willing, your home has the potential to provide a safe haven where the weary and wounded can encounter the risen and living Christ. Let the walls of your home arch upward to form a sanctuary that your husband cannot wait to return to at the end of the day. Guard your door, beloved one, and do not open it to resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, or anger (Eph. 4:31–32). They are dangerous enemies to your marriage.
Likewise, set a guard over your tongue. Instead, talk to the Lord about your frustrations. Fill your home with the fragrance of Jesus Christ and the sweet incense of prayer. Commit yourself to the ministry of faithfully interceding for your husband instead of trying to change him. Prayer is the most powerful tool we can use to influence a man.
Your Marriage Is an Unstoppable Team
Now that you've joined "Team (fill in your soon-to-be last name)," exert all your energy to grow in humility and unity . . . working together as one in life. Resist the urge to be independent by building walls rather than bridges between you and your man. Oh, I do pray the two of you will have fun together! Keep your hubby as your irreplaceable best friend.
I must warn you to be prepared for your covenant commitment to be tested in every way. Decide today you won't give up. Affirm now that you'll never quit on your marriage. No matter what.
Along with sweet times of joy, you can also expect times of searing pain, deep disappointment, impossible demands, and downright drudgery. As hard as it may be, each season has been purposed for your growth and good. A word of caution along the way: If you permit your heart to be guided by volatile emotions, you'll look back with regret from venturing down dark alleys you never intended.
Your Empowerment Comes from the Spirit
You may already be thinking, How can I possibly be this kind of selfless wife? That's good. No matter how long you are married, you will need Jesus. None of the attributes of a godly wife are attainable apart from abiding in Him.
When you're depleted and empty, the Spirit of the living Christ can love your husband through you. This God-man Jesus is your first love, and the only One who is capable of satisfying your deepest longings. Cultivating a relationship with the Lord above all other pursuits will enable you to be a wife worth more than precious jewels (Prov. 31:10).
Dearest daughter in Christ, learn from my foolish mistakes. Far too often I watered down my marriage to make it all about me. For many wasted years, I resisted my husband and jockeyed for the upper hand. It grieves my heart to remember how my fierce independence forfeited the peaceful harmony of living interdependently with a man I adore. I'm thankful our kind and patient Father has redeemed those locust years (Joel 2:25). Today, my marriage has never been better.
As I close this letter, I'm praying for you as a daughter whom I'll most likely never meet. I'm placing the baton in your hands to run the race with all you've got!
Remember loved one, I'll be cheering you on as you take your first step down the aisle!
With love from a spiritual mother.