Dear Andy and Lesley;
As I write this you have almost completed your first month of marriage. You have already experienced some ups and downs with employment issues and yet one of those has been resolved. It is just a taste of what your life together will be about; the constant challenges and victories that will come your way. Embrace them for that is how God molds and shapes you into the people that you will become.
You are deeply in love now, and I pray that will continue as long as you live. The key word here is Love. There are a score of definitions of love but I believe that the 13th chapter of First Corinthians says it best.
I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels, but if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains, but if I don't have love, I am nothing
I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don't have love, none of these things will help me.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. It does not sing it's own praises. It is not arrogant. It is not rude It does not think about itself. It is not irritable. It does not keep track of wrongs. It is not happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end.
So these three things remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.
I wish I could say that I have been successful in abiding in those words but I can't. Unfortunately I am human and have failed, more times than I care to admit. But because my loving wife also tries to live by these standards, she forgives me and continues to love me despite myself.
Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It is 90/10. If each of you will try and be the 90% giver, your marriage will be very successful. Jeri comes a lot closer to that than I do, by far, but I am getting better at it. You might have to ask her for her assessment for the "me getting better" part.
There really are only two parts to a successful marriage: Love and Commitment. On that 4th of July, 2012, you both made a vow between each other before a host of family and friends to love each other as long as you live. I have provided you the secrets to love as designed by God eons ago. Remember them, treasure them, refer to them often, and they will serve you well.
As for the commitment part, take those vows that you said to each other, when things seemed perfect, frame them along with the above scripture, and when situations arise that are not perfect, sit down and read aloud your vows and what love is. Remember that you have made a life long commitment to each other, in good times and bad. And you will get your full share of both so expect it and embrace it. They both will make you stronger and better.
Finally, we promise to support you in what ever way we can as long as we can. We are here for advice, to share what we know, to help in any way we can. We also promise not to meddle, or take sides, so if we overstep our boundaries, let us know. And we promise to pray for you daily that God will guard and protect you and help you to make right choices.
May your love last forever!