Five years ago, I wrote this to my bride on the day of our marriage covenant ceremony. Looking back on these words it is a sweet reminder not simply of the beauty of marriage but of the glory of the reality to which marriage points—Christ and the church. I share it with you in the prayerful hope that if there are any echoes of the loving words of Christ to his bride in my own, you will be captivated anew and afresh by His love for us.
My beloved and my bride,
I never thought this day would come. I have dreamed of it from the day I met you, but still, until now, it has been only as a soft whisper of glorious things, beautiful things to come that I could not know then. But oh, how that whisper stirred in me a longing for this day and kindled in me a desire to know no other days, if only I might know this one! And at long last, it is here. Our wedding day is upon us, and I realize that it is not this day alone that I have longed for, but for all the days to follow when we will be united together in a divine union, never to part in this life but to live all our days inseparably bound together—and what a great joy and sweet delight it will be!
Emily, there are no adequate words to express the joy welling up inside me. That God should look upon me, a wicked wretch in my own ways, with the unmerited favor of a son and delight to give to me the most beautiful woman in all the earth makes me to stand in awestruck wonder of His infinite grace and boundless goodness! You truly are the most beautiful and the most beautiful by far to me, sweet girl. Your beauty is inexhaustible and unfading because it flows from a deep inner spring that is rich with a love for Christ, and I am overjoyed that I will spend a lifetime discovering its fullness and exploring its depths, though I am sure that there is such abundant beauty within you that there will be beauty still unknown to me the day I depart this life.
I am so desperate for a bountiful measure of God’s grace. I have been entrusted with a task too great for me, for in my own strength I cannot love you as our Lord loves His bride. Yet that is my desire—to love you out of the endless love with which Christ has loved me, to consider your needs above my own as Christ has considered my dire estate in sin and stepped down from Heaven to rescue me, to strive always, even at great cost to myself, for your good as Christ has striven to take hold of me, to love and cherish you unto death as Christ has loved me even through the unthinkable pains of Calvary, and to lead you into the arms of the Father to find that which is truly life as Christ, in his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension has reconciled me to the Father whom I once hated in my sin but now I love because He first loved me. It is only by drinking of the grace of His gospel daily that I will be able to be for you what God commands a husband to be for His wife, so I pray with vigorous fervor, foremost for me but also for you, that the gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus would be for us our daily bread and that Jesus alone would be sufficient in satisfying the deepest longings of our souls. For when I have learned to love Jesus more, I will love you more and my love for you will be increasingly like His love for us.
Emily, my bride, there is no other with whom I would desire to walk through this life. You alone are all I desire, and you are more than enough for me. In His sovereignty, God has beautifully designed your talents and gifts to strengthen ways in which I am weak, and He has already been at work through you for my sanctification. Your faith in and love for Christ spur me to lay hold with increased conviction of the promises of the cross and empty tomb. It is a wondrous thing how God brought about our union, and the precision with which He accomplished it stands and gives testimony that He is pleased with our union and desires to accomplish a work in and through it that is for now too wonderful for us to know.
You are my chosen—I chose you. You alone have all of my affection—the affection of my heart, of my mind, of my eyes, of my lips, of my hands—all that I have and all that I hope to be is yours and yours alone. I will never give myself even in part to another. I vow to always pursue you, to always romance you, to always love and serve you. You are my treasure and my delight, and there is nothing that I have done or anything that I could ever do to be worthy of having you as my wife. It is God’s unmerited grace and undeserved goodness that I am bestowed with the privilege of being your husband and endowed with the honor of devoting myself fully to you, being yours and yours alone all my days.
I am so eager for those sanctuary doors to open and for our eyes to meet as you walk down the aisle to me. I am sure that I will never behold another sight as wonderful and lovely as my bride presenting herself to me in the whiteness of Christ’s purity. The glory of that moment will take my breath away and may very well produce tears—but they will be the most joyful tears that are ever shed on this earth. I can hardly stand the anticipation. Come quickly, my bride. Come quickly.
With abundant joy indescribable,