My lovely sister made the most beautiful bride on Saturday! Arriving to the church a bit later than anticipated, I was disappointed I missed seeing her get into her gorgeous gown. So when I walked in and saw her dressed, hair and makeup stunning, it brought tears to my eyes immediately. She was breathtaking. Image

The church was decorated absolutely amazingly, and it really did feel like a fairy tale.Image

Little girls at the reception kept referring to Amanda as “the princess.” And I couldn’t have agreed more…she did look like a princess! And let’s not forget the groom…he looked very handsome, much like Prince Charming himself. 🙂ImageSo many memories made this weekend! It was absolutely wonderful, and I loved every minute of it.

Something occurred to me throughout the day on Saturday. I was quietly observing and taking mental note of the different seasons of marriage. As I watched Amanda excitedly prepare for her groom, there were tears shed as the bride and groom exchanged gifts. A handsome watch for Jonathan, and beautiful diamonds for Amanda…I wiped away a tear as they read the sweet letters they’d prepared for one another. Such deep love and appreciation for one another. Such excitement. Such newness in their love. It was precious.

Later that morning I observed one of the bridesmaids, married for some time now. Talking on the phone with her husband who was caring for their children at home, she was dictating instructions for how to clean up the bed linens from a child who had wet the bed the night before. No love letters here. No diamonds. Not even necessarily newness or excitement. But, love? Definitely there. Changing sheets from a bedtime accident does indeed say love. Just in a different way.

Throughout the day, another bridesmaid quietly slipped away several times in order to feed her infant son. Having three kids under the age of two, this woman amazes me in many ways. In a two year period, I know that she and her husband have experienced more sleepless nights than they’d ever imagined. Amidst exhaustion and caring for three little boys, I’m certain there haven’t been too many quiet moments for love letters or diamonds in their lives. But, love? Certainly. In a more profound and deeper fashion than they could’ve imagined on their wedding day.

Then there was my little family of five. All of us were in the wedding, and we had worried for weeks (months, actually) that our three little ones would not cooperate for pictures or walking down the aisle. But they did beautifully! There were certainly tense moments, and definitely no time for love notes of any kind between Tanner and I. But, love? Never a question. Watching the love of my life, dressed handsomely in a tux, care for our three blessings while I stood in another picture…it was love. I had been asked to sing during the wedding ceremony…the same song I sang to Tanner at our wedding ten years ago. As I stood on stage and the music filled the air, my heart swelled with love for my groom. I loved singing that song to him as my new groom on our wedding day, but I think I loved singing it more ten years later. Love. In a deeper sense than I could’ve imagined on my wedding day.

Then I observed the parents of the bride and groom. My mom and dad, married for forty years, giving away their daughter’s hand in marriage. Image
Jonathan’s mom and dad, beaming with pride for the man their son has become. Image
And I couldn’t help but think of the seasons of love these two marriages have seen. Through the ups and downs, these two couples have proved that the precious union of marriage can indeed thrive amidst seasons of both happiness and sadness. Again, no love letters or gifts exchanged between these couples on Saturday. Maybe not even words of affirmation amidst the busyness of wedding day preparation. But, love? Definitely there. In a deeper way than most might see or realize.

And so I was reminded in a profound way this weekend…love has seasons. Marriage has seasons. And just like the changing of the weather pattern seasons, we can expect that moments in our marriages will look different. Were it not for the snow and ice covered streets in Winter, we’d not appreciate the newly budding trees in the Spring. Were it not for the sweltering heat of the Summer sun, we’d not breathe in deeply the crispness of the cool Fall air. In much the same way, the bitter days of marriage teach us to appreciate even more the sweetness that follows. Arguments, differing opinions, sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, crying babies…each stressful moment creates space for deeper love and appreciation for the one who does life with you. And on the flip-side, each sweet moment does just the same…each kiss goodnight, a quiet conversation while the kids fall asleep, the simple squeeze of your love’s hand…the simple acts of love that come with each season of marriage are more profound than I could’ve imagined.

So if you’re married, revel in the season you’re in. Trust me, I understand that there might not be time, money, or energy for love letters, date nights, or diamonds. But there doesn’t have to be to fall more in love with your spouse. The love of a husband and wife is a beautiful thing, and I’m so glad to have witnessed several seasons of love this weekend.

And to the love of my life, I can’t wait to experience many more seasons with you. Thanks for doing life with me, Tanner! I love you!