In a few short months your life will change forever. As we look to this coming summer, when you will walk the aisle and join in covenant with the man of your dreams, I wanted to take a moment and share with you a simple lesson I have learned over the years that I believe is the key to marital bliss. During my engagement to your daddy, God was so gracious to me to surround me with women who loved the Lord. I made sure that I asked lots of questions because I really had no idea what to expect and how to be a Godly wife. I wanted to bless my husband, and not tear him down. I wanted our marriage to reflect God’s glory no matter how we felt from day to day. By asking questions from wives who had been married for many years and who still LOVED being with their man, I learned how much I really needed to learn. My assumptions were challenged from day one, but I knew that the Lord had something to teach me about His unconditional love and about loving my husband without conditions.
If you learn early in your marriage that you really don’t have any ‘rights’, that we are all guilty before God and we all deserve hell, therein lies true freedom . You will be free to love, when you live a life which dies to self. Christ will fill you up and bless you in ways you could never dream of, if you will learn this one key word.
Our dear friend and mutual mentor, wrote this beautiful exhortation to a new bride and I wanted to share it with you. These are not my words, but they are my heart.
I love you,
To a Young Bride-to-Be
Used with permission by Johnnie K. Seago
You are about to join the ranks of beautiful brides, newlywed wives, and loving helpmeets. You are embarking on a journey that will last the rest of your life with your own personal Prince Charming as your tour guide. What could be more exciting? Today it is our pleasure to share that joy with you. Your excitement is contagious, and we gladly accept these symptoms of “wedding-itis.” All of us will be glowing when we return home tonight with kinder words on our tongues and gentler spirits in our hearts. Today, we rejoice in the presence of you: the bride; the coveted position of every little girl who ever saw Cinderella; the longed-for position of every mother of a daughter, and the sought after position of most teenager girls. Enjoy today: we are.
As the excitement of the wedding approaches, there may be difficulty in believing that you will ever struggle with feelings of failure, moments of insanity, and instances of insecurity. But: you will. However, notice that I said, these are moments, they are not seasons, years, or decades. They are passing emotions in the life of the Christian woman as she wrestles with hormones, blood sugar, sleep deprivation, and the outside pressures. But it is for the moments that women are needful to write devotions, and return to them. For by writing these words, and reading them to you today, I reaffirm that those moments are not the TRUE self: for we are brides. Today we celebrate that you are soon to be the bride of your own personal Prince Charming that God has chosen for you. In so doing we are reaffirming that you represent the bride of Christ. We find solace and security in our bridegrooms, and this alone is enough to make us rejoice today.
All of us here can give you sage advice on overcoming post-wedding anxiety, pre-and-post baby conflicts, mid-life decisions, and some of us even…adjusting to blissful grand-motherhood. (You should remember that your mother is looking forward to that adjustment! But this is a wedding shower, not a baby shower.) However, all this advice is useless without your desire to live every day loving your husband as unto the Lord.
Titus 2:4-5 says: Young women should love their husbands, [to] love their children, [to] be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Your love for your Bridegroom is a living sermon each day to your friends and coworkers of the goodness of God. Just as God provided a wife for Isaac in Abraham’s old age, God has provided you to love and serve your husband in his father’s young age! You are this man’s precious treasure. He will cherish you. He will delight in you. He will glow as he introduces you to his colleagues and associates. And you, you will blush and speak well of him on every occasion.
Proverbs 12:4 states that the excellent wife is the crown of her husband. Your husband may enjoy you as his arm candy when you enter the room together for some years to come, but it is when you leave the room that people will be reminded of his crown: his excellent wife who works hard at the relationship and is not slothful in her home.
Proverbs 6 reminds us, as wives, to be industrious in our own homes. Many of us, like you, work hard outside our homes as well. We must remember the Titus advice to be proud to be called homemakers. We are making a castle in which our king can live and enjoy the company of others. None of us see you as the silly woman in a favorite Jane Austin novel, tempted to fret over so many little details of her home that she runs her husband off to his study to escape her! Our role as homemaker is not the role of housekeeper. Clean beds, warm meals, and comfortable surroundings enhance the home, but your sweet disposition will keep Mr. Perfect longer at the table than even the best dessert…though nothing says love quite like a chocolate cupcake. Remember that your sweet words spoken at that table will fill his heart long after the cupcake no longer fills his tummy. Be sure to supply BOTH in liberality!
Ephesians 5:22 tells us to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. Submission has a demeaning context in today’s society. However, never has it been more necessary to affirm and build up our Christian husbands as today. Our society attempts to feminize our world, therefore, it is wise for us to esteem them, to embrace them, to honor them, and to respect them. Our submission to their wishes shows them that we do believe that God placed them in a position of honor in our home. When I submit to Ted in matters where I disagree with his decisions, I say to him and to the watching world, “God tells this guy what to do. I trust God so I follow Ted.”
My devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ will never be stronger than my devotion to Ted, and this is a stirring and convicting thought that has brought me to my knees more than any other thought in my adult life.
And unfortunately, because confession is good for the soul, I must pause to add: it has not brought me to my knees nearly often enough. Ted deserves my respect not because he is RIGHT, but because he is the RIGHT MAN for me. He is the man God has uniquely chosen to lead me in the paths of righteousness. When I show respect to Ted Seago, I show respect to Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. When I show disrespect for Ted, I show disrespect for a perfect Sovereign God who desires nothing more or less from me than that I am molded to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. I have no excuse to offer you: you have no excuse to invent. We submit with loving hearts, or we live in rebellion to God.
But this is not a revolution against God’s word: this is a celebration of the joy of living IN HIS WORD! Today we celebrate that soon you will have complete freedom to do what you so desperately want to do: LOVE YOUR MAN WITH ABANDON. Thirty-three years ago my pastor’s wife came over to my home and modeled for me how to love my husband all day long and in every room. She showed me how she prayed for her husband as she ironed his shirts. She slipped notes in his books that she knew he would read in preparing for his sermon. She hid flower petals in the towels in his bathroom. She placed cards in his underwear drawer and drew hearts at the bottom of his sermon notes before slipping them back into his Bible. I can’t say that I have even attempted to emulate everything she told me so many years ago, but I can say this: I have longed to emulate that 24/7 love that enabled her husband to light up when she entered the room. And I must admit: I have been much happier when I did.
You see, loving your fiancé is a gift you have given us. We delight to see your innocent, simple glow and adoration for the man that will become your husband in a few weeks. Loving your husband is a generational gift: better than a family teapot or even the family Bible: when you are loving your husband in return, you are loving your future children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews. You are also loving God and fulfilling your calling as a Christian woman.
Today we celebrate your love: the gift you give each of us each time we see your lovely face aglow with a soon-to-be bride-like glow. Your love is a gift with a ripple effect as a rock in a pond: the gift extends to this group of women, to our church, our community, to those who know you. May it grow with each passing day, and may the ripples widen and deepen that your love, as it reflects the love of the perfect bride to her perfect bridegroom, draws others to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.