Reception following at West Liberty Community Center, West Liberty, Iowa
Wedding Toast by Harvey Bluedorn
I would like to offer a little counsel to Hans and Desiree.
When I was first married, I had this idea of radical honesty – just say what you’re thinking, be honest, don’t keep any secrets, and don’t hide back what you like or don’t like.
Whatever you do, do not do this.
It’s really really stupid.
And it will get you into a whole lot of trouble.
I am not advocating lying.
But the book of Ecclesiastes says
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
… A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; … A time of war, And a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7-8)
And sometimes that time to keep silence and that time of peace coincide. Hence the expression, “Keep your peace.”
If you ever get even the slightest notion that your wife is upset, be assured that she is, even though she will deny it if you ask her, … so don’t ask her.
You may safely assume that it is because of you.
Your only problem will be figuring out what in the world she’s upset about.
Wives believe their husbands know perfectly well what’s bothering them.
I’ve never figured out how they reconcile this
with their belief that we just don’t understand them.
Do not resort to guessing.
You may just be adding more to her list.
Besides, sometimes she doesn’t even know why she’s upset.
so how in the world are you ever going to figure it out?
Hans and Desiree are planning on moving to California.
This may be helpful.
Some say the formula for a happy marriage is the same as the one for living in California:
when you find a fault, don’t dwell on it.
Hans, here is one special caution,
When you have an argument (and you will),
You need to warm and reassure her with those three little words
which thrill a woman down into her heart and soul,
I ………………. was wrong.
(You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?)
Do not ever utter the words, “You were wrong.”
You can think it all you want, but do not ever let those words escape your lips.
Admit where you are wrong.
But be very careful about ever saying, “You were right.”
You’ll never hear the last of it.
Now some more serious counsel.
Paul the apostle speaks three primary words regarding marriage – they are the three words usually associated with the marriage vows – love, honor, and obey or submit.
These all apply to all of us all the time, but they apply in a special way in marriage.
Scripture never directs wives in any special sense to love their husbands with agape love. Instead, Scripture uses the other word for love – phile – they are directed to love them as their friend, their confidant, their closest companion. Marriage is all about companionship, and it is the wife who is most especially responsible to keep up that companionship.
It is husbands who are directed in a special way to agape love their wives. This is not a self-interested possessive love, but a selfless protective love. Marriage is all about love, and it is the husband who is most especially responsible to keep up this love.
Wives are directed in a special way to submit to their husbands. This is not an abusive servile submission, but a helpful and supportive submission. We men need all the help and support we can get.
What relation can you think of more disturbing than a wife who is not helpful and supportive of her husband – unless it is a husband who is not selfless and protective of his wife.
To these two words – love and submission – is added a third, honor.
We are all to honor one another, but the wife is directed in a special way to honor her husband. This, I believe, is directing us to a special part of her submission. The actual word used is not the ordinary word for honor or respect, but is the word for fear, a wife is to fear her husband, but not in the sense of intimidation or terror, but in the sense of acknowledging and submitting to his position as the one who is accountable to God for herself and for their family. She must help him to grow into this and live up to this by showing him honor and regard and respect, and in doing so, she will be doing herself and her family much good.
So the wife has the special responsibility of being an example to the family and to the world, to show us all what it means to show honor, and the husband has the special responsibility to show us all what it means to love. That’s pretty convicting, isn’t it?
When these two things – selfless love and honoring submission – are in harmony, they complement or complete each other. And that is the real formula for a happy and fruitful marriage.
Marriage is a mystery, Paul says.
Hans and Desiree, you get to spend the rest of your life trying to solve this mystery.
You think you know love, but you don’t know what love means yet.
It was after my first son was born that I realized how much I loved my wife – to protect her and provide for her – to keep her safe and happy, and how much I loved my son – my family – to do the same.
It was in giving away my first daughter that I realized how much I loved my daughter – to protect her and provide for her – to keep her safe and happy.
The Lord provided my daughter with an honoring and protective husband, and we thank the Lord for Adam.
Now the Lord has provided my son with a wife.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband …
… a prudent wife is from the LORD.
(Proverbs 31:10; 18:22; 12:4; 19:14)
After 37 years of marriage, I now know something of what this means.
Desiree is as beautiful as an angel, and as faithful as the tides.
Hans, keep her safe and happy.
Desiree, he needs your help and support.