It was an informal business dinner and there were six of us, two from out of state. My wife had not met the two from out of state, so I introduced her. “Chuck, Adrienne – this is my bride Sharon. Sharon,this is Chuck and Adrienne.” Everyone had a good meal and almost everyone told at least one good story and that was that, or so I thought.
A day later, I receive an email that said, “I like how you refer to Sharon as your bride. Where did that come from?”
Blank. Blank. Blank. Then blink … some of it started coming back.
As it is coming back, being an engineer and having a love for detail, I looked up the definition and synonyms for bride. The synonyms for bride are wife, spouse, partner, mate, helpmate, new married woman. Well all of those fit except the last one as we are approaching 39 years of marriage.
Then I ran the definition for bride and it was no help: a woman is about to be married or has recently been married. Okay, I think I will stick with the synonyms instead of the definition. As it is I simply like the feeling of affection behind the phrase, my bride, and it seems to add a sort of respect for our marriage and in some ways it remains new and fresh.
It helps to remember we eloped all those years ago, but it was only 14 years ago we got married in a church ceremony and dedicated our marriage to Christ. In that ceremony, bridal gown, tuxes and everything as if we were just getting married. It was the same as when a man first marries and sees his ‘bride’ as a gift. In this marriage ceremony, her father gave her away (and finally forgave us for eloping). He gave her to me! You have seen it on tv or in an actual ceremony where the pastor asks, “Who gives this bride/woman to this man?” Usually it’s a father, uncle or brother who gives the bride to the groom.
Oh, and one of my brothers, who couldn’t believe I had such a great catch and over the years would always ask me during a visit or phone call, “How is your bride doing?”
One additional thought that applies here. I had taken Christ’s command to love your neighbor as yourself to heart. Not so easy in practice, but in thinking about it, I asked myself who my closest neighbors were. Simple answer, my family. And the closest neighbor within my family – my wife, my bride. So If I was going to love my neighbor I was going to start with my closest possible neighbors and work my way outwards.
This had made a real difference not only with my bride, but with our children, our friends, our extended families. And in difficult times, I have only to remind myself, my bride is my closest neighbor and she is a gift from God to me for things to begin to get better.
Finally, it’s kind of simple, I just like it and so does she. So if we ever meet, don’t act too surprised when I introduce her saying, “This is my bride, Sharon.”