I just finished reading the book of Ruth, a story that I have read numerous times. What a great love story! The part that gets me every time, though, is Ruth’s pledge to her dead husband’s mother. “…where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”(Ruth 1:16b-17)
I’ve heard similar pledges spoken as vows at weddings. I say it often to Marshall. These words are potent and not to be spoken in haste or without sincerity. In this becoming one journey, where Marshall goes, I must go. Where he stays, I must stay. His people are now my people. His God, my God. And where he dies, there I will die also and only death will separate us. Now, these statements are not made out of reluctance but because we are man and wife.
Where he goes: In this year as we seek the Lord and the direction for our lives, we believe that a move is basically inevitable. Although I’ve always been the adventurous type living anywhere from 3 hours to several days travel away from my childhood residence, there was always the comfort in knowing that I could come home at any time. Now my home is with my husband. If we were to move to say Texas, we could always visit my family and they us, but there is something permanent about making a move as a married couple. I was talking with my sister-in-love on the phone last night. As they prepare to make a move in the next year, Ruth is a little worried about how her two year old will respond to leaving the only home that he has ever known…the only home that she and her young family has ever known. Valid concern, yet they will face this change as a family beautifully. They will go where God leads them as will Marshall and I.
Where he stays: I am what you call a faithful wanderer. I am committed wherever I am and to whatever I am doing but often I get bored with my environment and want to change things up. I can recall numerous situations where I just wasn’t happy anymore where I was. Ironic to note, however, that God never moved me on until I was truly content in my present situation…then I didn’t want to move! Anyway, where God leads us as a couple, we will STAY until he moves us on. Staying is more than a state of being; it is also a condition of the heart. I think we both are challenged by this one. Why work on building roots if we might be uprooting ourselves in a few months? All the same, we will plant ourselves where God puts us and move only by the leading of the Holy Spirit. For where we are now is as great a part of God’s plan as the next phase and the next.
His people: I’d say it is a little less challenging for me to embrace Marshall’s family. In fact, it’s rather easy. His parents are wonderful people and his sister is my best friend! I know, however, that people will come into our lives that will act as sandpaper to smooth us out, others as sugar to sweeten us and yet others will come that we are to sweeten and smooth out. As God commands us to love one another, we will love the people that God brings into our lives.
His God: Marshall and I both have been blessed to be raised in Christ-enriched homes. We sincerely believe that a thriving relationship with Christ is of the utmost importance. Because we are one, it is now our walk with Christ. If his relationship with Christ is suffering so will mine and vice versa. We have the opportunity to practice Proverbs 17:27 to the fullest extent of its meaning. We are iron sharpening iron praying for one another, challenging and encouraging each other.
Separation by death alone: It is not really cool for me to think about my husband or me dying especially since we are only 3 months into our marriage relationship, but we are committed to allow no other situation to separate us. We are truly blessed to have the rare example of one marriage parents on both sides. We have watched them love each other, struggle through difficult times together, and come out the other end standing with hands intertwined and hearts even more united. Marshall and I want the same for our relationship. So even when times get difficult and we don’t seem to get each other, separation, divorce, splitting up are not words we will ever introduce into our vocabulary.
Yeah, this becoming one is really cool. And so we continue to embrace our journey as man and wife knowing that where He leads, we will follow, where he plants us, we will thrive, those people he places in our lives we will love, his presence we will pursue and the gift of marriage that he has given us we will protect ‘til death do us part.
Embracing the Journey,