Thirteen years ago, my husband promised to love me in sickness and in health, in riches and in poverty, and in good times and bad.
Of course, we didn't know really what that would mean.
My dear husband has held my hair as I have been sick many times (mainly in pregnancy!).
He has cared for me in illness.
He has pushed me in a wheelchair (pregnancy again).
He has listened to my worries - some trivial, some less so.
He has been there through many undignified moments, such as gallstone attacks.
He didn't complain when I bit him when mistaking his hand for a pillow (first baby). Or when I screamed so loud that he winced (second baby).
He was amazing at delivering our fourth baby when the midwife didn't make it.
More than that - much more - he has seen me at my worst.
He has been kind, and faithful, and generous.
He has corrected me gently when I am wrong, has forgiven me quickly, and never dwelt on my faults.
Instead, he sees the best in me, and loves me.
And he makes me cups of tea.
When we were married, we had these verses read at our wedding:
Of course, in this day and age, the command to wives seems shocking. Actually, it is the command to husbands that is the more amazing; Christ gave himself up for the church by going to the cross. A call to follow the example of Jesus is a high calling. When my husband loves and forgives me as he does, I know that his gracious treatment of me flows from his love for Jesus, and his knowledge of how God has shown such grace to us.
Christian marriage isn't a hark back to old, uncomfortable values. Submitting to a husband's leadership is one half of a good relationship that God has created to reflect his relationship with his people. The kind of marriages we are called to are supposed to be living models of the beautiful relationship between Christ and his bride, the church.
I am grateful to my husband, for his unstinting, unwavering love for me, in spite of all he now knows about my many weaknesses.
I am more grateful still to Christ, who knows the worst of me - my hidden sins and blackest thoughts - and yet loves me, and loved me to the cross.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ dies for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8