Love And Marriage

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When my husband and I started wedding planning, the first song on our list was Rory Cooney’s “Covenant Hymn.” A friend of ours who had been married several years said that although she thought the song was appropriate for a wedding, she thought it was much more poignant when you’d been married for a while.

The eyes of a newlywed tend to roll when told about the difficulties of marriage, and I was no exception. But recently I remembered my friend’s comment, and after seventeen-plus years of marriage, I understand what she meant. It’s not that I know things now that I didn’t then…though I do…it’s just that I understand a little more deeply.

Though you should fall, I will be there, when no other friend can you claim. Even though you probably did something to deserve not having a friend…I stick by you.

Though shadows and mist cloud the future… You know, with your brain, what that means, when you stand in front of the altar on your wedding day. It means that nothing about the years to come is certain, and some of it is not going to be fun. But you don’t focus on that. You turn a blind eye, choosing not to borrow trouble—and that’s exactly what you should do.

But understanding an abstract concept is different from the understanding gained by experience. Abstract concepts become tactile, concrete things…

…in the moment when your temperature drops, and you know that for the thirty-fifth time, you are not pregnant…

…in the moment when it doesn’t drop, and you see two pink strips, and you know that you are…

…in the moment when you first see the echo of your beloved in a tiny newborn bundled in blankets in your arms…

…in the moment that the words “chromosomal abnormality” exit the world of abstract and become a concrete reality upon which your world will forever hinge.

It happens in the ordinary, too—in the thunderstorm that wakes the kids and scares them, and you lose the all-important post-bedtime couple time for the fourteenth night in a row. When children put their hands on hot stoves and fall down stairs. It happens in the long nights when you lie awake, your whole body straining to hear the sound of labored breathing and seal-bark coughs across the hall, just to make sure your child is still breathing. It happens in hospital stays and happy birthdays, in baptisms and first communions, in births and baths and bedtimes.

I’ll end today with “When Love Is Found”, a wedding hymn by Brian Wren, published by Hope—which does the same thing as “Covenant Hymn.”

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2 thoughts on “Love And Marriage

  1. This is a beautiful Kate. We also had this song sung at our wedding. I only hope that we don’t have to wait 35 months….15 is enough already…

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