Dear 25-Year-Old Me,
In August of the year Prince sung about with apocalyptic flair, you will step into an elegantly simple white gown, hold a bouquet of fresh pink roses, and walk into a garden as a glowing bride. Your wedding ceremony will be lovely, and the awe dancing in your man's eyes when he calls you his wife, will render you breathless.
Marrying The Professor (you'll call him that in a few years), is your most brilliant decision to date. In fact, I don't see how it can be matched...but the marrying part...that was easy. Being a wife, a wife of godly character, is a process consisting of choosing daily to love your husband.
I know that you have heard the cliché “love conquers all.” It's true. Oh, not in the Hollywood summer blockbuster sense. Romance alone, while an important marital spice, will not enable you to withstand the storms and fires about to come your way. When I write that love can conquer all, I am referring to the kind of love that is not limited by perception, personal desires, or tangible flaws. I'm referring to agape love...God's love. The very same love that conquered the cross on Calvary, is the only type of love capable of clobbering attacks that routinely assault marriages.
Two weeks after you and your new husband return from Jamaica, you'll move to a college town. He will pursue his Ph.D., and you will look for a job in a tough market. And that honeymoon period that is suppose to last for six months...well...it's going to end soon after those boxes are unpacked. And when it does, I need you to remember those eminent verses from I Corinthians. You know the ones I am writing about, because they are often recited at weddings...but how often are they lived?
Angela...You. Need. To. Live. Them. Even when you're exhausted. Even when you're sick. Even when you're hurt. Even when you're angry. Even when you're lonely. Even when you fall into the toilet at 2:00 a.m. because he forgot to put down the seat. You see, when you exchanged promises and rings with the love of your life, you signed up for "better and for worse, as long as you both shall live." And sometimes, there is a whole heap of worse before you see more of the better. But if you hold on to Christ, and love as He commands, your marriage will be draped with grace and beauty.
Love is patient. Earning his Ph.D. will take more than seven years (I know, sweetie, I know), encourage him every step of the way.
Love is kind. Don't allow your fears and feelings of inadequacy swindle you into thinking that it is acceptable to lash out at your husband.
Love does not envy. It does not matter how many of your friends moved into new houses with fancy furniture after their weddings. Don't waste a moment fretting about what you want and what you do not have. Instead, look at that man who pledged his life to you, and thank God for the priceless gift of unconditional love.
Love is not rude. And love is not self-seeking. Respect your husband and appreciate the man God created. And as you implement ideas to honor him and make him feel special, do not do so in the hopes of winning something from him in return.
Love is not easily angered. And love keeps no record of wrongs. Your first apartment together will measure less than 700 square feet. Believe it or not, you'll live in smaller. Money will be tight, and it gets even tighter. You and your husband won't always agree. There will be plenty opportunity for anger to sneak in. Don't allow it to get the upper hand. Ever. And when your husband makes a mistake, accept his apology and bury the mistake in a pit as deep as the one in which you would want your mistakes to reside.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
In other words, love can conquer all.
(Bold parts were taken from I Corinthians 13:4-8a, New International Version)