June Brides ~ Five Year Perspective

JohnandAshwed1Oh, they say when you marry in June,
You’re a bride all your life.
And the bridegroom who marries in June
Gets a sweetheart for a wife.
Winter weddings can be gay
Like a Christmas holiday.
But the June bride hears the song
Of the spring that lasts all summer long
By the light of the silvery moon
Home you ride, side by side
With the echo of Mendelssohn’s tune
In your hearts as you ride
For they say when you marry in June,
You will always be a bride.

~Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Five years ago today I was standing in a church, facing the man I loved with all my heart, vowing, covenanting to love him, honor him, obey him, and be faithful to him until death. We stood hand in hand on the platform, with so many dear ones watching, knowing this was the start of forever for the two of us.

But this wasn’t exactly how it was planned. Oh no, we weren’t supposed to be in that church at that particular moment. If you had asked us the day before, or even that morning, we’d have told you we’d be joining our lives before God that day in a breathtaking outdoor setting, with a back drop of snow-capped mountains, shining lake waters, surrounded by majestic pine trees. But God, in His wisdom, had other plans.

It started the evening before the wedding, with the rehearsal dinner. Being that my beloved and I are outdoorsy kind of people, his parents had suggested doing a barbecue in their Rocky Mountain backyard, as opposed to dinner at a fancy restaurant. It was just more “us.” The plans were made, the tables, chairs and decorations set. And then… the clouds rolled in. With thunder. And lightning. And rain. And hail. Our family and wedding party rushed for cover into the house… and began to talk about what we’d do the next day for our 1:45 pm wedding. Surely, we told ourselves, surely, after all this planning, the rain would hold off. It just had to be clear. Surely.

Yet, the next afternoon, forty-five minutes after the wedding had been scheduled to start at the lake, our guests filed into the church auditorium from where they’d all been squeezed in the foyer to keep out of the hail. The storm, which had returned with even greater fury than the night before,  had driven us from the lakeside just minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin. While guests caravaned the short drive from one place to the other, my sweet bridesmaids and everyone else who was close enough to help–all in full wedding attire!–pulled out vacuums, transferred the decorations as they arrived in cars from the lake, and did everything they could to calm my rather shaken nerves.

My beloved called my cell phone many times in the course of the location switch, making sure I was alright. “Just remember,” John told me, over and over. “Today is STILL our wedding day. You are my bride no matter what. By the end of today, we’ll still be husband and wife.”

Five years later, I sit here, several states away from that wedding site, smiling to myself over the way the day turned out. We didn’t have the outdoor wedding I’d spent so many months planning, but we did get married. We didn’t get to take the wedding pictures near the Colorado lakes and streams and mountains that the “photographer papers” we wrote out said we would, but we do have pictures radiating our love and joy that day. Fancy dresses may have been a bit wrinkled and tux coats set aside until the last minute, but we were shown by every single person around us that day just how much we were loved and how blessed we were to have such dear ones in our lives.

If there was one life lesson that has seemed to characterize our marriage these five years, it’s the fact that “nothing is certain except change itself.”  Things seem to change in drastic ways around here, sometimes faster than our minds can even process. And yet, through every change, we come to the end of each day still as bride and bridegroom. At five years, a milestone when many couples are evaluating their relationship and whether it’s worth staying together, we can say without hesitancy that the many changes and curve balls our first five years have brought have only served to cement us even closer, stronger, and with more reliance on the God who joined us. The people who surrounded us that very first day remind us by their example and with their current presence in our lives of the covenant we made, the support we have through every step, and have shown us that true Christlike love gives, serves… and is flexible.

Things don’t always happen exactly as we planned them. Dinner doesn’t always turn out, husbands come home late or change schedules, jobs are lost and gained, moves can happen at a JohnandAshwed2moment’s notice, babies don’t arrive when we expect, family troubles can threaten marriage bonds, children don’t always behave the way we want when we want, illnesses take our health, and a thousand other changes can send stormy weather in the direction of a husband and wife.  But that’s okay. At the end of it all–and perhaps because of it all–we still look into each others’ eyes and see sparkles. We can still kiss under the stars and be amazed that we have each other. We can laugh until our sides ache, sleep snuggled close every night (and go to bed at the same time!), and play footsies under a dinner table surrounded by our little ones. My husband still wraps his arms around my waist and buries his head in my hair while I make dinner, steals kisses whenever he walks by, and catches my eye from across a crowded room for a look that only I can catch. I think the fact that he makes me a cup of coffee every morning, selecting the cups I like best (like my “Marine Wife and Proud of It!” mug!), blending the cream and sugar perfectly, and bringing it upstairs to wake me with a kiss–just as he did every morning of our honeymoon–qualifies us as the perpetual honeymooners we are.

When we stood in that church on June 26, 2004, we didn’t know what was ahead for us. We couldn’t hope to foresee the particular challenges we’d face or what our life together would look like, any more than we can see what the years ahead will be. But we did know one thing–we would be facing all of it as best friends and with the Jesus who brought us together. And if this first day was any indication, we’d be learning to be flexible!

These foundational, strengthening truths we’ve been learning every one of the 1,826 days we’ve been man and wife are the ones we trust our Lord will be continuing to refine and perfect through the decades ahead of us. After all, He got started on the very first day in June.

19 Comments

  1. Sarah Logan says:

    I just found your blog and read your love story!
    It almost made me cry.
    It put into words the dreams I have dreamed for myself.

    I long for the day when I have MY beloved next to me.

    In Your timing God – give me the patience!!

    Thank you for the wonderful story.

  2. I think you should have a “June Brides: 1 year perspective”. 😉 I’ll volunteer. Our first year has been full of trial (graduate school, honeymoon baby, baby sick and almost dying from whooping cough, three moves, you name it, There is no way I could describe in a short paragraph how much we’ve been through). 😛 But God has been SO faithful and we love and adore each other 10 times more than we did we married last June.

  3. Ashleigh..thank you so much for such a beautiful post 🙂 about love, commitment, marriage and best friends! I loved every word..it’s amazing!!

    Thank you for the reminder that God does provide good things to His little children, i am single and it’s a good reminder to wait. Thanks, and YES it’s my dream also that i can have a husband that can make perrrfect coffee just for me 🙂 haha!

    thanks again sweetie for this wonderful post!

    Blessings & HUGS!

    In His glory, Jane

  4. Ashleigh, Happy Aniversary! I love reading you posts and your blog.

    Love,
    Clarissa

  5. Beautiful, Ashleigh! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Happy Anniversary, Ashleigh! Thank you for sharing…good words. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Kiersti

  7. Samantha R. says:

    Oh Ash,
    This is BEAUTIFUL.
    Brought tears to my eyes as I read it.
    To see you and John so in love and see it growing stronger each day… it’s a beautiful thing. Something that God has done in your lives! May He continue to shower the blessings down upon you both and your family.
    You mentioned that “nothing is certain except change itself.”, I can testify to that.
    And yet, the change usually makes us better people if we allow God to work through and in all those “changing” situations. He does all things well!!
    Congratulations on your 5th anniversary!
    Lots of *hugs*
    ~Samantha

  8. Thank you so much Ashleigh! One of the reasons I love this blog so much is how encouraging you ladies who are already married are. I was just having a long conversation with my friend today about how it is so worth it to wait on God’s timing. With both of us in our twenties and longing for families, it’s hard sometimes to wait. But when I read your posts about you and John, I always remember the promises God has made to bless His faithful children. Thank you so much for the encouragement! And I hope you had a wonderful anniversary!! 🙂

  9. That was lovely, Asheigh! Just yesterday I had a conversation with an older woman about marriage, and she was advising me to not get married, that a good marriage is just an unrealistic ideal; and if I do get married, to be sure to have education and skills to fall back on for WHEN my marriage fails. It’s not as though I was shaken by what she said; it just got me thinking about marriage, how there definitely are problems because everybody is a sinner, but if my husband and I are both living for Christ, the problems will not tear us apart. So your story came at a perfect time for me, to encourage me by showing there IS such a thing as a good marriage. 🙂 Happy anniversary and God bless you!

  10. Sarah Ann says:

    Happy 5th Anniversary Ashleigh!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts looking back over the past 5 years.

  11. Love it. Just love it. And loved seeing your wedding pictures again. *happy*

  12. That is so beautiful Ashley. I have been married for 2 years, and I am beginning to discover some of these same things. (I too, was a June bride!) Thank you for your encouragement and a reminder of the beauty of marriage.

  13. Awww… I love a real life love story. Happy anniversary and may God bless you with many more to come.

  14. Rebekah Dickinson says:

    Dear Ashleigh

    Happy Anniversary!! I was just about to graduate from medical school 5 years ago and start work. It is good to look back and see how God has taken care of me.
    Hope you have a blessed day.
    Rebekah

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.