To All Of Us With Rings

Photo credit to K. Overson

There’s something about watching wedding vows from shiny wooden benches in the sunlight. Grey storm clouds that hung ominously overhead all afternoon, suddenly slipped away, and family and friends straightened in the unexpected heat. The bride, with a cut-out lacy back repeated her “I do” vows in giddy joy, and I watched her fair skin pinken in the hot September sun. The groom in swirled dark hair stared steady at his bride, proud wonder and amazement seeping from him.

A violinist, guitarist and pianist joined several vocalists in the golden grass to our left, and music floated under blue skies. Bride and groom spoke promises to each other, and I leaned into my husband’s side, tracing his gold ring on his tanned finger. He turned and glanced at me, smiling softly, brown hair streaked with slight silver now. We kissed gently, and turned back to watch the vows.

There’s something about watching wedding vows from shiny wooden benches in the sunlight that raises in me joy, nostalgia, and gratitude, and yet an awareness this weekend of my own brokenness and flaws. The pastor spoke of sacrificial love that was willing to die for a spouse, and yet often our hardest sacrificial choices are the day-to-day smaller ones. I sat in sunlight, a light flashed onto my own discrepancies.

We huddled close that afternoon as twilight fell, the sunlight disappeared, and grey clouds rushed in. Over wedding toasts, bride and groom games, and guest laughter and conversations, the cold crept in. We dug out fleeces and blankets, sharing between friends, and draping ourselves in overly-large jackets to stay warm. Sipping caramel coffee creations and Indian spiced chai’s, my man and I sat close, laughing with others, and exchanging glances through the night.

On the car ride home that night, we talked quietly, affirming love for each other, apologizing for our brokenness some days, and leaning in close. “God is bigger than all this, Jen,” Mark said, picturing my struggles, his struggles, and everyone’s struggles. “He is patient and good.”

This morning, he melts chocolate chips into our home-made hot chocolates, and we hug and pray together before I head out the door. We text a few times, intentional and kind, building each other up, and speaking truth into our relationship.

God is bigger than any of our sins or bad habits or attitudes. He is patient with us, forgiving, and good. He is fighting for us, friend. And marriages are worth it.

Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience

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  1. Floyd on September 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    What a blessing you two have in one another; gifts from out Father that are more valuable than any material riches on this earth.

  2. Alecia Simersky on September 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    There was a time in my marriage that was hard, and when I would sit through a wedding I sat there kinda jaded wanting to yell, "Don't do it!" "Run, it's not going to turn out like you hope or expect." But now, I know what a blessing marriage can be, it's taken a lot of soul searching and laying down of ourselves to figure it out, but I know I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. You're right if we let Him, God is bigger than all of it.

  3. Dontmissyoursunsetlady on September 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Beautiful post… Marriage God's way can only been done by his grace! I love the pictures you paint with your words!

  4. Cheryl Barker on September 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    So glad He is bigger than any of our sins or bad habits or attitudes. I need His grace, too, Jennifer!

  5. Jayne on September 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for inspiring me to put forth s little more effort into my marriage. I'm so thankful for His patience and forgiveness when we blow it.

  6. Jennifer Dougan on September 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Floyd,

    Marriage is hard work, but a gift, huh?

    Thanks for stopping in.

    Jennifer Dougan

  7. Jennifer Dougan on September 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm


    Marriage IS hard many days, I agree. So worth it, but yes, hard work. Thanks for your honesty. I don't think enough people are brave enough to say that.

    "Laying down of ourselves" — yes, that's it, isn't it? The hardest part, and yet the key to so much joy longterm.

    In the adventure alongside you, so thankful for our Big God,
    Jennifer Dougan

  8. Jennifer Dougan on September 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you, TJ. You encourage me.

    Marriage done only in his grace, yes.

    Have a great week, friend!

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on September 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Me too, Cheryl.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on September 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm


    I'm so excited for you! It's worth it, and brings such joy. May God do amazing things in your marriage, my marriage and all of ours.

    Jennifer Dougan

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