We were having lunch at a café just north of Seattle when we noticed a young couple at another table. The man got up to pay the bill but his wife stayed seated in their booth. After paying the check, her husband came back and stood in front of her. She put her arms around his neck, and he lifted her up with his arms supporting her legs. He backed out the front door with her to a pick-up truck as she continued to hold her arms around his neck.

He gently put his wife into the cab of the truck. Everyone in the little restaurant watched. As they pulled away you could see a folded wheelchair strapped into the bed of the truck. No one said anything until a waitress remarked, “That man took his vows seriously.”

The restaurant stayed silent for a moment longer. A few nodded in agreement. And everyone felt a sense of reverence.

It can’t help but touch your heart when you see something like this. Saying your vows on your wedding day is one thing — living them out when life gets tough is another. Perhaps that’s why some couples are re-writing the traditional vows of marriage. USA Today, in an article titled “Couples Take Their Vows in a New Direction,” reported the following:

“The Bible is losing ground on the wedding aisle, and forever may follow obey into oblivion, particularly for those who marry in civil or non-denominational ceremonies.”

The piece went on to interview the editor of Bride’s magazine who said, “many couples prefer to start their lives together with ‘guidelines, not a straight-jacket of rules.’”

Les Parrott's Making Happy
Get more — Free! e-booklet — Les Parrott's Making Happy

It’s a sad perception. Vows are not rules. And they’re certainly not guidelines. Our vows are a public demonstration of a commitment to what the Bible calls a covenant relationship. Malachi 2:14 says that marriage is a holy covenant before God. For Christians, marriage goes beyond the earthly promise. It’s a divine picture of the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church. Our promise to love and honor each other is a spiritual representation of our relationship with God.

If you’re like us, married quite a few years, you may not think about your vows too often. You just live them – until something jolts your life together. But just as the man with the pickup carried his wife, give some thought to how God has carried the two of you in your marriage.

For the two of us, we know God carried us through the birth of our first son when he was born premature, weighing just a pound and struggling for life through multiple surgeries. We know from research that an experience like this can drive couples apart. And if it weren’t for God’s grace in our lives we know it could have surely happened to us.

Copyright © 2014 Les Parrott, Used with permission.

Read more from Les at LesandLeslie.com