Rob and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this March (2012);
We marked this by renewing our marriage vows to each other during the service on Sunday 18th March 2012, in our church, Alnwick Baptist.
This is one of the prayers prayed over us during the ceremony:
A Celtic Blessing
God be with you in every pass,
Jesus be with you on every hill
Spirit be with you in every stream, headland, ridge and lawn;
Each sea and land, each moor and meadow
Each lying down, each rising up
in the trough of the waves, on the crest of the billows,
Each step of the journey you go,
Go with God
We have had some very difficult, stressful and uncertain times, including Rob losing both his parents, illness for both of us, and his two major heart attacks.
He has also lost the last tiny bit of sight he still had. We have moved twice in this time, first from Bristol to Minehead (85 miles) then the 400 miles to the far northeast of England, to Alnwick, the county town of Northumberland. This area is lovely, very peaceful, with rolling hills, 5 times as many sheep as people and is home to the Northumbria Community, of which we are now both ‘Companions’. The marriage preparation course we followed with our minister, before our marriage, has stood us in great stead through these years, here is how we went about it.
Twelve expectations of marriage
When we were preparing for our wedding, we were given this list by our minister to consider. It highlights some areas which can cause problems in marriages. We were then asked to go away, as individuals, and consider each point very carefully. After this, to arrange the items in order of personal importance and write a few sentences explaining our reasons and how we intended to apply this in our new relationship. Then we were asked to return with our two lists and discuss them together with our minister; especially taking time to agree how to deal with any conflicts, now and in the future.
Marriage Preparation Discussion Points
Rearrange this list into your own order of priority. Then write a few sentences on each topic explaining its personal importance to you and what you intend to do about it in your planned marriage.
- Mutual respect & tolerance
- Adequate income
- Sharing religious beliefs
- Sharing tastes & common interests
- Having children *
- Happy sexual relationships
- Sharing political views
- Sharing household chores
- Good housing
- Shared social background
- Relating to in-laws
*Note that the having children item can also relate to any children, or young adults which you or your partner may be bringing into the marriage.
If you cannot attend a marriage preparation course, it is worthwhile meeting with a mature and respected married couple to talk over your priorities and personal expectations. You will both be married for a very long time so make every effort to build your relationship on sound foundations.
We were strongly advised by our minister and other wise people in our church to pray before asking an older couple to be our marriage mentors.
We did this and they were God’s gift to our marriage. Due to Rob’s blindness and the fact my 2 (young adult) sons were squashed in our flat as well, life was a series of misunderstandings and sources of friction. But we knew that we only had to phone and Peter and Jenny would be there for us both. This is the modern alternative to having godly parents and grand-parents around all the time, to ensure your marriage reflected Kingdom values. They taught us that neither one of us should be the one to “get their own way” but that we should seek God’s way; He was and is the most important in this marriage.