One of my goals for 2017 was to blog at least once a month throughout the year. The month of May has flown by, however, with finishing up the semester, Dellan’s graduation from Iowa State, wedding details, baby sis’s high school graduation, our wedding weekend, and now the beginning of our honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains(!!).
After all the craziness, I now sit in our cabin in Tennessee on the last day of this incredible month with a full heart. There’s so much I could say! However, rather than write a whole new post during this time set apart for rest, I decided it most wise to post something pre-written.
With that, I have included our wedding vows below. Hearing D’s words and getting to read mine to him were one of my very favorite parts of our day, hands down. We prayed that our day would honor God, and I think our words are a true reflection of our joint desire to build a marriage that serves him.
I am so happy I was entrusted with being this Jesus-seeking man’s wife.
My Dearest, Gabrielle,
Over these formative years of our relationship I’ve had the joy of developing a great fondness for you, your heart, your smile, your dreams, and your character, but only recently have I begun to develop what actually loving you requires of me. I’ve learned that the love intended for a husband and wife was designed to go far beyond fondness of one another. I know that hearing that causes you some fear of a lack of romance, but I promise that this love leaves much room for fondness and romance.
I’ve told you many times of my agreement with the idea of opposites attracting, and I would argue that our relationship is a great proof of the idea’s validity. I believe we were each designed with very different, but complimentary, gifts. For example, you possess relational wisdom; I apply wisdom to finding practical solutions. You have a heart of compassion for the marginalized of the world; I have a heart for charity and service. You have an understanding of the intricacies of human relationships, and I know how to heat and cool buildings. So today, as we are being formed together as one, we are being formed to depend on each other because of these varying gifts–as a garden depends on its gardener and the gardener depends on the garden. The beauty of that kind of relationship, one where we suffer and rejoice together, causes a desire in me to see the joint works of our complimentary gifts.
God tells us that the way to build and preserve a unified relationship like that is to love. All of my greatest gifts are worthless without love. My charity, service, and wisdom have no value if they are not applied in love. Fortunately, God tells us what this love is, and I will whole-heartedly attempt to love you in that way for the rest of my days.
I will wait in kindness for your affection when it is not present. I will not smother your gifts and dreams, but I will encourage them and hold them as more valuable than my own. I will not lord my gifts over you in pride or arrogance. I will only raise you up in my speech to others, I will not speak ill of you for my own glory. I will practice forgiveness daily and actively seek peace in our marriage. I will guard our life–our activities, our relationships, our family–from evil and rejoice in the truth of the gospel with you. I will not outsource your edification to the church or anyone else, but will take personal responsibility for the encouragement of your spiritual growth. I will trust you and have hope in you and our marriage. And, perhaps the weightiest of all, I will do everything in my power to love you as Christ loved the church, by the giving over of myself and my desires to His authority.
By the grace of God, I will do all of these things with the motivation that this love will be full, lacking nothing, because it is ultimately dependent on a third party’s intervention. Just as the garden and the gardener wilt without the powerful presence of the sun, so would our marriage wilt without the presence of a holy God. For that reason, I will ceaselessly pursue personal restoration through the Spirit of God, and the continued improvement of this love for you.
I am completely in awe of and in love with the man God created you to be. Ever since I have known you, I have been captivated by your kindness, gentleness, heart of service, diligent spirit, and your love for Jesus. You make everything more fun and are truly the best friend I’ve ever had. I also appreciate how you teach me things like woodworking that I probably would have never done if I hadn’t met you, which is pretty cool. Most of all, though, you have always treated me better than I could ever deserve and have shown me sacrificial, Christ-like love in every area of our relationship.
I love our story. I love that we were friends first and that you used to ask me for gum in 9th grade math and I’d always tell you no. And that you would text me and I would just randomly drop out of the conversation. Even so, you still fiercely pursued my heart and treated me with kindness no matter what. I’m so happy I finally got some sense junior year and became increasingly excited to spend time with you and get to know you better. I’m incredibly thankful to have had these last four and a half years of making memories with you and helping each other grow. Your gifts and personality perfectly compliment mine and I know we will serve God better as a unit than we ever could on our own. I am so excited to move through all stages of life with you–rejoicing in everything that is good and leaning on the Lord together when challenges come our way.
In order to love you the best I can, I promise to seek Jesus first in all things. On my own, I will spend time with him, and I will continually urge you to do the same. I will encourage you in your efforts to be joyful, kind, patient, and faithful for his glory. When you are walking through a sweet season with the Lord, I will praise God with you. I will help cultivate a pattern of honesty in our relationship, that we may expose our failures to each other and be humbled together. As your closest companion, I pray that I can be a reflection of the safe place and confidant you ultimately find in your relationship with Jesus.
I recognize that this life is not just mine anymore but ours, and I will live like this is true. Your joy is mine to celebrate; your burdens are mine to bring to the throne of grace. I am honored to hold the responsibility of bringing your heart before the Lord daily in prayer. I promise to treat you with kindness and grace in every situation, because love is kind and you are precious to me. I will not plant my feet firmly in my own desires, but seek the will of God alongside you while helping you chase your dreams, even if that includes moving somewhere I never pictured myself living or taking on any other adventure. I will pray for our joint fight for truth—that it would reign in our minds and our marriage. And as I choose to believe what is true about Jesus, I will also make a habit of assuming the best in you and trusting you.
I can’t wait to continue to know you, admire you, and love you more for years to come. I love you so much and am honored to become your wife today.