Our 25th Wedding Anniversary is coming up

Beth and I will celebrate (Lord willing) our 25th wedding anniversary on June 1. Marriage is a very special thing, and a 25th wedding anniversary marks a tremendous amount of living. And given what we’ve been through in the last year, we’re already doing a lot of reflection on this.

I found the following selection, which speaks about the Creation account of marriage, men and women, husbands and wives, and the sexuality of marriage:

The vision of marriage found in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures is one of reuniting male and female into an integrated sexual whole. Marriage is not just about more intimacy and sharing one’s life with another in a lifelong partnership. It is about sexual merger—or, in Scripture’s understanding, re-merger—of essential maleness and femaleness.

The creation story in Genesis 2:18-24 illustrates this point beautifully. An originally binary, or sexually undifferentiated, adam (“earthling”) is split down the “side” (a better translation of Hebrew tsela than “rib”) to form two sexually differentiated persons. Marriage is pictured as the reunion of the two constituent parts or “other halves,” man and woman. This is not an optional or minor feature of the story. Since the only difference created by the splitting is a differentiation into two distinct sexes, the only way to reconstitute the sexual whole, on the level of erotic intimacy, is to bring together the split parts.

Marriage is eternal

Bethany and John, mid 1960's

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Of course, God knew, even “from the foundation of the world,” that Beth and I would meet, and marry, and raise a family.

Next June 1 will be our 25th wedding anniversary, and we look to that date as a goal to get through these next months, which promise to be extremely difficult, at best. Then, if she can make it two years past the transplant, there is a very good chance that she will have been completely cured.

Longer term, we are hoping to dance at our daughters’ weddings, because they will no doubt turn around and look for her, for us together.

Marriage is an amazing thing. When you have children, especially small children, there are ties and bonds that run far deeper than just the legal contract or the vows you take before God and each other. I know what it means when it says, “the two become one flesh”.

The very substance of our lives — the children, their accomplishments, their future accomplishments. These are all things that only the two of us can share in the same way. When there is a first grandchild (none so far), she and I will feel exactly the same thing. It is one substance that we share. One reality, and there is no other person who can understand it in quite the same way.