Dear young bride,
I look at a picture of you on this day, and I think “Wow, what if I could relate the journey you’d be on for the next fourteen years with the prince charming beside you.” Thus, the letter.
You’re nineteen. So innocent and naïve of the world stretched before you. Hold tight to the hand of the man you pledged your life to, because together you will laugh and cry, sing and weep. Together, live your faith.
To start, you are going to move a thousand miles from all that’s familiar. Your hubby and you embark on a new life. But you’re not scared. You’d travel to the ends of the earth with this man. Be reassured that God drew the roadmap for you to follow before you even reached a mile.
The tiny apartment you share would hold some of your fondest memories. You learn that marriage is more than a glorified version of playing house. There are bills to pay, dinners to cook, and an unending pile of laundry. And that ring in the bathtub needs scrubbed. Regularly. The blessings of marriage far out-weigh the dirty dishes. You have a handsome roommate that now sees you without make-up and tousled hair, yet adores you. This, girl, is love.
He eats the nasty overcooked, or over-spiced food you present him with a dimpled-smile and an “I love you”. You understand quickly that you don’t talk during sporting events and never pause in front of the TV. You discover each other’s weaknesses, but that’s not a bad thing. You are blending lives here, two becomes one flesh.
The two of you sail through the next couple of years of marriage, growing as individuals and as a couple. I hate to write this to you, sweetheart, but you lose a child in a miscarriage. It hurts. Bad. His strong shoulder is there for you to grieve into. Cling to that man. And cling to God. Allow His grace to overwhelm you. Yes, there’s an ache in your soul, but with every tear that falls, there is a promise that He’d comfort you. A promise that He’d never leave or forsake you. And don’t forget the man beside you. It was his child, too. Even if he doesn’t want to talk, sit by him in silence. Be there.
A few months pass, and guess what? You’re pregnant again. A fear lingers from before, but every time it shows its head, you smack with the verse God gave you. You clutched onto that Psalm and wielded it like a sword. Both of you are thrilled. Hubby spoils you. You don’t lift or even vacuum! He indulges you with your silly cravings. He keeps you stocked in Cadbury chocolate eggs. Just don’t eat too many. Trust me. You discover you are having a boy! So yeah, you both agreed on Andrew Joshua, but something happens to hubby when he views his son on the sonogram. He wants to give the child the one thing that belongs solely to him—his name. Of course, you gush and kinda squeal at this. Now Scott Andrew McDaniel Jr. is born and life is beautiful! You both dote on him and treat him likes he’s made of glass. You sterilize everything. And shush people when he’s napping. This can be viewed as rude, Rachel. Lighten up just a tad. Hubby’s the best dad you could ever wish for. When the child turns six months you get surprised again. No really you do. You’re four weeks pregnant.
Maegan is born nine months later, and she is beautiful. Life is perfect. You and hubby are so happy. Just make sure you don’t fuss over the little ones that you neglect your husband. Kids are demanding by nature, but don’t let things slip into the cracks with your marriage.
Next up is a toughie. Little Meg is diagnosed with ASD. Darlin’, I’d love to say you were faith woman, but sadly, you weren’t. You don’t listen to your husband’s advice—“Don’t lose your joy, Rach.” But you do. You’ll find that it’s simple to be filled with joy when life is roses, but what happens if you touch a thorn? It’s a struggle to keep peace when you feed on destructive thoughts. Don’t worry about your baby-girl. Did this surprise God? Did this catch Him off guard? No, He knew about it before Meg even drew her first breath. So don’t give in to the doubt. Don’t embrace the fear. Let His Word guide you. See yourself as God does. When you can’t lift a pebble, He sees you throwing mountains. Believe the impossible. Dare to dream for her!
And the irony is that it makes you and hubby stronger. You both learn to rid selfishness and strive to be the parents God wants you to be. And my-oh-my, he’s the best father, understanding the many needs and doing whatever it takes to provide. It melts your heart to see his compassion and tenderness.
So there you have it. Fourteen years in less than a thousand words! I know this is hard to believe, but you love him even more now than you do on your wedding day. A deeper love, a commitment so strong, that it soars above life’s storms. So yes, enjoy your wedding day! Hold his hand every chance you get. Dance with him. Say “I love you.” And maybe refrain from the York Peppermint Patties past ten o’clock.
You fourteen years later