The picture is adorable. Robert’s two-month-old face sports his million-dollar smile as he looks at a little girl with straight black hair. In the next picture, LeAnn’s hand is on her head, a huge grin on her face as she stares at Robert. It could easily be captioned, “Oh Mommy, he’s so cute!”

Fast forward six years. Robert and LeAnn are walking down the aisle, ring bearer and flower girl in the wedding of family friends. Robert hadn’t wanted to be in a wedding, but when he found out how excited LeAnn was about her new white gloves, he suddenly decided he was excited, too.

Seventeen years later, Robert and LeAnn are standing at the front of the same church. The same pastor—who also performed the marriages of both sets of parents—is joining Robert and LeAnn together “‘til death do us part.”

All four sets of grandparents were still living, and still married to their spouses. They lit the candles at the beginning of the ceremony, representing many years of marriage between them. The families had been friends for nearly forty years. Now they are joined together by the marriage of Robert and LeAnn. A powerful testimony to God’s faithfulness through the generations.

I watched as Robert cupped LeAnn’s chin in his hands and kissed her, after the pastor pronounced them man and wife. I cried then, because it was so beautiful.

Robert was my first cousin to get married. The wedding was simply beautiful. And as I listened to Robert and LeAnn sing “The One God Made for Me,” I was inspired once again to wait for the one God made for me.

Every wedding I attend is so unique and yet so beautiful. At each one I am excited for the couple as they begin their lives together. But I know that the wedding is just the beginning.

As I observe married couples, young and old, each one helps me define my vision of what I want my marriage to look like. Craig and Cuter were one such couple.

Her real name was Cecile, but her Daddy dubbed her “Cuter” because he said every time he came home she got cuter and cuter. Even strangers knew her as Cuter, but many of her husband’s friends never heard that name: Craig simply called her, “My Bride.”

Some remember Cuter pruning roses or washing dishes, but I remember how she loved her husband. Craig and Cuter would stand with their arms around each other or their hands entwined, as the church pews smiled on approvingly. Oftentimes Cuter would gaze up at her husband with such adoration, an unknowing inspiration to me, the young girl sitting behind them.

Craig and Cuter redefined the phrase “old married couple.” It was not that they couldn’t stand to be together, but that they couldn’t stand to be apart. Craig and Cuter were the most romantic sixty-something couple I’ve seen. They were affectionate, they were joyful, they were tender, and they were faithful. But most of all, they were a powerful testimony to the joy of married love. Like two fish in a fishbowl, they swam together for all to see.

I felt a special bond with Cuter, because we shared a birth date. And on the day she went home to Heaven, that fact stood uppermost in my mind. Now each time my birthday rolls around, I think of Cuter, and pray that the next year will make me more like her, more like my Lord.

At a church potluck last Sunday, Craig and I talked about Cuter. “I hope you find a relationship like that,” he told me.

“So do I. That’s why I’m waiting.”

Cuter isn’t sitting in front of me at church anymore, but her picture sits in my heart. And on our birthday and throughout the year, the memory of this true woman of God will continue to inspire me to wait for the kind of relationship she shared with her husband.

When my wedding day arrives, it will not be the end of all my hopes and dreams, but the beginning. And as I join hands with my husband on our wedding day, I will remember the vision of marriage I’ve had so long, and seek to love him faithfully, as LeAnn does Robert, as Cuter did Craig, until death do us part.

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