November 7, 2012

Wedding Gifts for Life

Fair warning: I just got married. Obviously, adjusting to my new life is foremost on my mind these days. Hence, at least for this month, you’re going to be subjected to my matrimonial ramblings. Hope that’s OK . . . (waiting). Awesome! Let’s get to it:
The response to my September 13 article, “Taking the Plunge,” has been overwhelming. I’ve received thoughtful letters and e-mails, even a few gifts from people I’ve never met—faithful readers of the Adventist Review. Thank you to all who took the time to write, send a card or gift, and pray for Natalie and me before, during, and since our wedding in September.

One particular e-mail was especially humbling. John McFarlane, a pastor in Texas, wrote to tell me that he was committing to pray for Natalie and me every day for the first year of our marriage. Notes like this—and all the others we have received—make me proud to be part of a church family that is so globally intertwined. You don’t know how encouraging it is to feel supported by people who have a little more experience in marriage, faith, and life.

2012 1531 page27Jesus and Marriage
Speaking of supporting marriage, the book of John gives us keen insight into just how important this sacred ceremony is to our God. Without harmonizing the Gospels, it can be a little difficult to understand exactly when Jesus attended the marriage feast at Cana with His disciples (John 2:1-11). Recently, while reading The Desire of Ages, I realized that the event wasn’t long after His excruciating battle with Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4), which signaled the beginning of His public ministry and the miracles that went with it.

Jesus could have chosen to go anywhere to perform His first miracle. He could have healed a blind man, cleansed a leper, or pulled a child out of the clutches of death. Yet His first miracle occurred at a wedding as He turned water into “wine.”

Most of us have read these stories so many times that in some ways we’ve become desensitized to the incredible meaning behind the acts of Jesus. Nothing He did was random or uncalculated. Simply by attending the wedding, then by saving the hosts from the embarrassment of running out of beverages, Jesus gave a clear statement about marriage. In short, He loves it.

What really matters, however, is how we apply this real-life anecdote to our own lives.

They always say you don’t remember much about your own wedding, but I’ll remember what Pastor Jamey Houghton said at mine forever. Just before we said “I do,” Pastor Jamey invited all the married couples in attendance to join in.

“As Natalie and Jimmy recite their own vows, I’d like to encourage you to grab the hand of your spouse and recommit your lives to each other,” he said.

In my picture-perfect world, all of my friends and family members recaptured, if only for a moment, a small slice of their own wedding day.

In my first few weeks as a married man, I’ve realized, more than anything, the gift God has given me. This isn’t a gift to be used, buried in the closet, or donated to Goodwill; this is a gift to pour my life into for as many days as I have on this earth.

I know it’s a little odd, a 26-year-old who’s been married for three weeks writing about marriage as if I know something. If I can offer anything, it’s the childlike feeling of newness, where gifts that I would have never bought myself are suddenly the coolest things in the world—not because they’re mine, but because they’re ours.

If you’ve fallen into the routine of life, take a moment to remember those early days of marriage and thank God for the gift of your spouse as if you’d just said “I do.”

Then go buy some flowers or something. I’ve heard that works pretty well. 

Jimmy Phillips ([email protected]) writes from Bakersfield, California, where he is electronic media coordinator for San Joaquin Community Hospital. Visit his Web site: This article was published November 8, 2012.