Building a marriage is a lot like building a stone wall,” wrote Rosie Boom to her niece Hannah on the eve of her wedding to her fiancé, Brad. The analogy came to Rosie some months earlier during a family work bee to build a stone wall courtyard in her sister’s garden, where Hannah was going to be married. This is her letter.
In a few short hours you will walk across the field, through the stone wall archway, and into the courtyard, where we’ll all be waiting. I can’t wait to catch my first glimpse of you over the wall—the wall we built for you, Hannah. For your wedding.
Building a marriage is a lot like building a stone wall. It doesn’t just happen. It takes time and lots of hard work. Thomas Edison once said that many people miss opportunity when it comes to them, because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like hard work. I’ll let you in on a secret, Hannah! Love also often comes dressed in overalls, and it is hard work. But it’s worth it!
When we began building the wall, your father made sure we chose the foundation stones very carefully. This is where our project would either succeed or fail. Choose your foundation stones carefully, Hannah. Let Christ be the one on whom you build your marriage. Don’t skimp here. Your wall will be only as strong as its foundation. Make Him the center of all you do. Seek His wisdom. Pray together. If you build on Christ, the Rock, then when (not if!) the storms come and beat upon your wall, it will stand strong.
Choose every stone you build with carefully. Every time you choose to put aside your own wants and seek to meet the needs of your husband, you’re building with the stone of selflessness. It is a good stone!
You’ll need plenty of “patience” stones over the years, Hannah. Some other great stones to build with are thoughtfulness, understanding, gentleness, and encouragement. Encouragement is a wonderful stone to use! You’ll need to encourage each other often over the years when you feel weary or discouraged.
And then there’s simple kindness. In a movie I once saw, a local doctor asks one of the villagers, “Do you love your wife? If you love your wife, my advice is be nice to her. Bring in the wood before she asks for it. If she is cold, then put a shawl around her shoulders. And bring her a flower every time you come back from the field.”
Simple kindnesses—they will make a strong wall.
I did a lot of thinking as I mixed the mortar for the wall. Cement, sand, water; cement, sand, water. You’ll need plenty of mortar as you build your marriage, Hannah. Let the cement be commitment, let the sand be communication, and let the water be forgiveness. Every day of your married life mix a wheelbarrowful of this mortar. Pour it in every crack.
One last thing: Remember to guard your wall. Attacks will come. Be prepared. Stand together with Brad in prayerfulness and watchfulness.
Today you and Brad will become one. Work together as a team. And don’t forget, Hannah: Every now and then, stand back and celebrate your progress! Enjoy each other’s company! Accept each other’s help. Remember that the enemy of our souls will always seek to divide you and set you against each other.
Building a wall is a big task. So is building a marriage. Ask God to strengthen your hands. And always remember, Hannah, if part of your wall falls down, you can rebuild it!
So, dear Hannah, may the Lord’s blessing be on you today as you begin to build a new life together with your husband.
With all my love,
Rosie Boom is a freelance writer living in New Zealand. This article was published March 15, 2012.