….you shall be my witnesses…..Acts 1:8
Part 3. Marriage as Witness.
Witness to a Life.
My parents grew up in the same neighborhood. There is one story I heard, I don’t know if it’s true but if it isn’t it should be. My dad was 4 years old and mom was 6 when her younger sister began picking on dad. Mom made her stop. My dad determined right then that he was going to marry mom. In good biblical fashion he waited nearly 14 years to marry her, though I’m pretty sure he didn’t wait that long to kiss her. This year they celebrated 67 years together.
I was a 9th grade cheerleader cheering on the 8th grade boys’ team when I first noticed him. I asked who is that itty-bitty short kid who’s tearing up the floor like Speedy Gonzales stealing the ball from all the taller boys and making lay in after lay in? In high school, when he was finally taller than me, we became a good friends. He had big hair and wore really cool hats and could smile and whistle at the same time. Very cool. And very articulate. In speech class while competing for honors in a VFW competition, we both had written drafts that were too long. I labored to edit mine to meet the time limits; He just talked really fast. With precise articulation. A few years later he talked me into marrying him.
In keeping family tradition, my son and his bride also grew up together. They are best friends. They both remember who they’ve been and where they come from. He understands exactly why in an inconvenient moment she has tears, and she knows why something quite random makes him so crazy.
I will be your Witness.
Within our marriage we bear witness to one another’s love and soul and story; but our marriage—as others witness our life together—will be the evidence of that enchanting Goodness Who is God Who has compassion over all that he has made…. because they’ll witness that compassionate friendship between us and experience it from us. So we say to God and to each other, “I will be your witness.”
Witness as Story-Keepers.
In marriage we are, each for the other, the story-keeper of a lifelong journey where as one poet says, “two solitudes protect, and border, and salute each other.”(Rilke) In lifelong covenant, we have the vantage point of being the chief witness to the unfolding soul of the other. At the end of life, she will testify to the passion of his life, and he to the fact that her life really, really mattered. For their whole life. Maybe even beyond life. We will say with the poet (Elizabeth Barrett Browning): I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.