Today, I have been given a commission that is both an awesome responsibility and an amazing privilege, to love you as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. This kind of love is not merely an emotion or a feeling; this love that God commands involves sacrifice, selflessness, and a constancy that is unshakeable. With that being said, I want to promise before God and everyone here to love you this way in some specific areas. First, I promise to be your spiritual leader. This means that my relationship with God comes first, even before your needs. I resolve to deeply root myself in the Word of God so that I may be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that provides shelter in the storm and produces the fruit of the Spirit. I vow to specifically pray for you every day—not just for peace, protection, and prosperity, but that the Lord would continually work in your heart to make you everything you need to be for the glory of God. I commit to serve the Lord with you, wherever He leads us. My ultimate goal is to lead you in making disciples of Jesus Christ and in daily living out our desire to magnify the Lord and exalt His name together. Second, I promise to lead a home atmosphere that is safe and secure. I ultimately trust in God to protect you, but let me assure you that I will do everything in my power to never allow anyone to hurt you, and I will always be ready to hold you in my arms when you are sad or afraid. I vow to manage our money wisely, in a way that considers what is best for us as a family and for our future; and to work with all my might to provide you with the best living I can, but never at the expense of failing to invest my time in furthering God’s kingdom and in communicating with you. I pledge to answer you softly even when things get heated, but if I mess up on that, to never let the sun go down on my wrath and resolve any conflict immediately. I want our home to be full of honesty, thankfulness, mercy, forgiveness, and love.
Finally, I promise to be your best friend forever. I call you “My bestest best best friend” now, and I feel like I know everything about you, but really, I’m only beginning to scratch the surface. I’ve heard it said that trying to understand a woman is like attempting to scale a never-ending mountain. As soon as the man has reached a summit (or think he has figured her out), he only discovers there is another massive cliff to climb (or her emotional responses and likes and dislikes have changed completely). Many men see this challenge as a frustration, but, Kari, I regard it as a fun adventure. If I were able to completely figure you out five years into our marriage, what would be the fun in that? Spending time with you over the past three years has been a blast, but I don’t want the fun to stop anytime soon—or ever for that matter. I promise to do my best to actively listen to you every day, to keep our relationship fresh and exciting, and to continue to pursue you for the rest of my life. I can’t thank God enough for the incredibly beautiful girl He’s given me in you, Kari, and I am absolutely thrilled to begin this love journey called marriage with you today. I commit these vows to you and may they guide us to a more fulfilling marriage than we could ever dream of. I love you with all my heart.
When we first met, I was an awkward eighteen year old girl who barely knew how to spell boy let alone speak to one. You were the ridiculously cute boy who sat next to me in chapel that had most fantastic blue eyes that literally took my breath away. That’s how we began and now almost three years later I’m still awkward, you still have those killer blue eyes, and I still lose my breath every time you look at me. I don’t have enough words to express just how much I’ve learned from you or how deeply I’ve grown to love you over the past three years. But I can share this- you have showed God to me through your every action, and every word, since the day I met you. Your heart for others and desire to give your life to God is stronger than anyone I’ve ever met, and I’m honored that you would choose me to serve God with you for the rest of your life. Ryan, I’ve loved you from my first heartbeat, because when God created me, he gave me a heart that was made to beat for you and you alone. Through my life, God kept my heart beating for you only, even though I didn’t realize it. You’re the only one I’ve ever dated, the only one I’ve ever given my heart to, and the only one I’ve ever loved. You have shown me love like I have never known before. When my dad passed away, I wondered how you would handle the situation, and I can inform everyone here, that you were my rock. You came to my house in the middle of the night, held me, cried with me, and assured me that though it hurt, God has a purpose for everything. At those moments my heart was overflowing, not only with love I had for you, but also with the love I received from you. I know that if my dad were here today, he would be grinning from ear to ear, proud to give me to a man who loves me so much. I remember the first time I knew I loved you. It was our first thanksgiving and you spent the whole day with me and my sister. When you walked away from the table, Katie turned to me said “I really like him.” I smiled and thought, “I love him.” I knew at that moment that I would do whatever it took to make you happy, to see you smile, to hear you laugh, and more importantly, to bring you closer to the Lord. It was a choice I made at that moment- a choice to love you- and it is a choice I’ve made every day since that thanksgiving. Today, before you, all these witnesses, and before our awesome God, I promise to continue to make that choice. I promise to choose to love you. When one of us has messed up, I promise to choose to love you. When you share your dreams, I promise to choose love, and support every last one of them, no matter how crazy they may seem. When I don’t think I could watch another basketball game, I promise to choose love, make a couple sandwiches, and watch another quarter with you. When you’re discouraged, I promise to choose love, and by choosing love, realize that it is God alone who can refresh and refill you, and point you to Him. When I’m tired, upset, stressed, or just don’t feel like it, I promise to choose to love you. And though these feelings will come, I promise to choose love by understanding that love is so much more than a feeling, but a choice to care for you, pray for you, and live in a way that brings you closer to Christ. I promise to choose to love you by striving every day to fill myself with the Spirit and become the wife who brings you glory, because that’s what you deserve. My desire through these promises is to be known first as a daughter of the King, and second as Ryan Elder’s wife. Anything after that is just extra. I love you with my entire being, Ryan Eric Elder, and promise to choose to love you every day for the rest of our lives.
6 • 6 • 2015
3 Sentence Love Story
We met in college, with her telling a corny joke and him laughing graciously. They began their relationship as best friends, and God blessed by transforming it into a spiritual haven. We grew in love as they encouraged, edified, and loved each other to Christ (and grew to love Christ even more than each other), and were married one perfect day in June.