How can a ceremony of words so completely alter the course of human life? The ceremony isn't like a physical surgery where something in your body changes. It isn't like buying your first car where you walk away with something tangible. It isn't like birth where there is instantaneously a whole new person in the room.
I heard on "His Radio" the other day that marriage is an empty box. Contrarily, Culture tells us something different. Culture tells us that marriage is a present you get to open and receive Love, Romance, and Happiness. People get married and are devastated to find their box or present was empty. Culture does not realize that partners in marriage have to deposit love, romance etc into the box in order for it to be full.
Some of us have seen marriage fail. Our personal history tells us that marriage is a box where hurt, resentment, and control reside. In that case, marriage as an empty box may be pleasantly surprising for a newlywed. Marriage requires the deposit of negative in order for those feelings to be present.
I think I had a little bit of both positive and negative expectations going into marriage. I expected to open it up and brace myself for the big surprise. There was no surprise. I was still me, and my husband was still himself. We were just ourselves with a promise too big to keep without Jesus' love as the center.
A ninth anniversary is really a baby step in a life long marriage, but I have seen a lot of deposits. I can surely say the box is full now. I never accurately imagined the relationship, the sacrifice, or the reward. There was no way to understand how my faith and the love between my husband and I would became the basis for everything important in my life. My own life and the lives of my children get roots and foundations from the promises spoken at that wedding day ceremony. I am amazed at God's faithfulness, my husband's integrity, and my own ability to continually fall in love all over again.
Life COMPLETELY changes, because it is a COMPLETING process.
P.S. Michael Andrew... I still do. ;)