Saying “I Do” Again, and This Time Meaning It

As I have been writing the story of my healing journey through my husband’s sex addiction, intimacy anorexia, our joint infidelities and the restoration of our marriage, I have mostly done so in a chronological order. But I have left out two significant events from the first year of our recovery. Purposefully. And yet both situations were answers to prayer, evidence of God’s supernatural healing power, and yes, miracles.

And although they are not secrets to our family, close friends, and in one case, our community and the world of Facebook, I have held the precious memories close to my heart. Maybe too close. Unwilling to taint the experience, perhaps lessen it is some way by not being able to eloquently articulate and express how deeply meaningful and profound it was to me. To my husband. To us. Worried that by sharing it with someone who doesn’t understand or appreciate the bittersweet celebration, it loses its value. Which is absurd. But not much different than tucking away and hiding a favourite, much loved gift rather than using it for fear of it becoming broken or damaged.

In my last post, The Case of the Missing Wedding Rings, I indicated that my husband and I had recently celebrated three years of wearing wedding rings.  But we did more than just present each other with new rings that day. We also renewed our wedding vows. We had numbly acknowledged our twenty fifth wedding anniversary four months prior. This was the real celebration.

I purchased a new dress. Bold, colourful, and flowery to match my growing confidence in life, God, my husband, marriage, and me. My husband, of his own volition, bought himself a dress shirt for the occasion. I never asked him to, so it pleased me that he made that effort.

As this commitment ceremony was only for us and our Father/Father-in-law God, we privately and informally held it on a Wednesday night with only our pastor, assistant pastor and their wives as witnesses. All good friends who had faithfully poured support and love into our lives and with whom we could joyfully celebrate the victorious testimony of God’s transformation in our lives and marriage.

Committing my heart to my husband and my marriage to God while standing in the Himalayas, or more accurately, surrounded by styrofoam mountains and a backdrop of Mount Everest covering the wall for the upcoming Vacation Bible School, added an element of fun and lightness to a deeply powerful experience. I don’t think when I was twenty years old, naively standing at the altar saying “I do”, that I fully understood the true meaning and complexity of wedding vows. I certainly had no vision of the struggle ahead of us with pornography, a sexless marriage and adultery. But honestly, in retrospection, the words were just words I was supposed to say on my way to a happily ever after with my Prince Charming. This second time was truly an intentional commitment. Every word and tear savoured and treasured. Of which there were many flowing from my husband’s eyes and heart throughout the ceremony.

Arriving at the church that night, my nervous stomach was competing with the peace, joy and gratitude reigning in my heart. My emotions had been going a little crazy all day, changing from minute to minute, but always solid in my decision. There was a little sadness at what my marriage had been, but unbelievable thankfulness at what it now was, and where it was going. The blanket of forgiveness and grace covering us was unexplainable. The past was truly put in the past. The only thing that mattered was today and tomorrow. A gift that continues.

We concluded the ceremony with a song that a friend sang at our wedding. Morning Has Broken. I loved it then, but it was lost in the blur of a wedding. However, this time, in these circumstances, listening to Third Day’s version captivated my heart.

I just paused from my writing to listen to the song. At this moment, the lyrics and their significance have me darn near tears. I have been overcome with emotion just writing this post and re-reading an email I sent to a friend the following day. I have never seen, or again written, as many exclamation marks, wows, and praises to God as there are in that email. Pure joy and exuberance at the gift and blessing of my healing journey.

Which is why I haven’t attempted to share our vow renewal on my blog yet. I just can’t adequately express how powerfully overwhelming it was at the time, and the memory still is. I am fearful of the possible reaction, judgment, eye rolling, misunderstanding, skepticism, and well, even indifference, to something that I deeply treasure.  A tarnishing of my miracle and God’s goodness.

But it is a miracle that needs to be told. A rejoicing in answer to prayer. Two broken people restored. A marriage rebuilt and redeemed. We hear about the destruction and messes all the time. I read about beautiful, strong, courageous women fighting for their healing, partners and relationships. And yet so many people are unable to believe that a marriage destroyed by sexual betrayal can be stronger and more beautiful than ever.

We show up every single day with our battle armour on and recovery tools in hand to guard and protect our victory. The battle has been won, but it will never be over. Truthfully, there are scars that remain. But as they fade, they no longer haunt us. And I just want you to know that.

You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:14-16

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20 thoughts on “Saying “I Do” Again, and This Time Meaning It

  1. I loved this post, we too renewed our vows on our tenth wedding anniversary, 2.5 years after the war hit our marriage. We too worked through it and next year on our twentieth anniversary in our garden in France, with just close friends and nature around us. I am so pleased for you both, it was lovely to read and sounded beautiful. Congratulations

    Moisy

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Cynthia, please do not worry about what others think. What is important is what happened between you, your husband and God. I think it is freaking awesome!!!! What a blessing it must have been for those chosen select to witness God’s restoring and renewing you marriage!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your kind words. And for directing my focus to the truth and abundant blessings I have received. Because yes, indeed, my miracle is a miracle and nothing changes that! It is pretty darn awesome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think your vow renewal is an absolutely beautiful, inspiring story! What an incredibly meaningful thing to do, and so uplifting!

    I’m really happy for you Cynthia!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing about the special day you renewed your vows! The first exchange of vows tends to be between two starry eyed, infatuated people full of unrealistic expectations. For your marriage to have been restored by God after so many years of brokenness and heartache is a beautiful testimony and cause for celebration! Renewing your vows was very meaningful way for you and your husband to celebrate a new beginning and fresh start to your marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your sweet, kind, encouraging and uplifting words. You are so right that our wedding and vow renewal ceremony were worlds apart. A huge contrast in expectations, and well, the maturity and acceptance of life experiences with all their flaws, mistakes, and sinful choices. The first time never imagining a storm is even a possibility, to the second time when we survived the drought and fire. I think I/we have a beautiful testimony too!

      Like

    • Thank you. I hope you don’t feel that a vow renewal is something you have to do. For us, we felt strongly that we wanted to make that commitment to each other because our marriage vows had been broken by each of us. So it really wasn’t just my husband making that commitment to be faithful, and me being willing to give him my heart again. It was a joint act of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. That we both gave, and we both received. And yes, it was a beautiful and powerful testimony of God’s glory!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal thing. We have talked of renewing our vows when we feel ready and on steadier ground, I loved hearing about yours.
    I like the idea ound the bright dress too… what a wonderful reminder of joy, celebration, and the different phase of life at your renewal.

    Liked by 1 person

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