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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2008 Debbie Thurman
620 words


By: Debbie Thurman

June is the month when, traditionally, the most brides are given in marriage. Right on cue, my husband and I followed that tradition recently by presenting our own precious firstborn daughter to her new husband.

As much as we had anticipated the event, and for all the tears shed in advance in attempts — futile, I must say — to drain the emotional well we feared would swamp us on The Big Day, we simply could not have known in advance how full and tender our hearts would be as we watched the two stand before God and witnesses and become one. We’d never been there before, except in our own marriage ceremony.

Now, we sit around the dinner table, happy to still have our younger daughter to share it with us, yet sighing with a pain that is the antithesis of the afterglow one feels following childbirth, as we gaze upon the empty chair. We laugh through tears as we ruminate out loud, “You’d think we had just buried her instead of marrying her off.” At least the newlyweds are a mere five hours away and not clear across the continent — the distance that separated me from my family as a newlywed, and for 17 ensuing years.

So, we adjust to this new phase in life, knowing others have gone before us — our own parents, for heaven’s sake — and somehow survived it. We cherished the moments we had with our daughter as we raised her, knowing full well that one day she would very likely be going off to live with a man who would be called to “leave his father and mother, and … cleave to his wife,” the two becoming “one flesh,” (Genesis 2:24). This is how it was meant to be.

There is “nothing new under the sun,” King Solomon told us in all his wisdom. True. Just old things happening to new people, over and over again.

Our prayer for our daughter and new son-in-law is that they would never forsake their marriage vows, no matter how tempting it might be when the storms of life come — and they will come. Their foundation is as solid as any can be for a young couple just starting off in life together.

Our daughter knows her dad and I each have contributed both “worse” and “better” moments to our marriage. We are as human and weak as the next couple. But every time we have allowed the thought of quitting to tempt us, we have remembered our vows. He chose me and I chose him. Like it or not, we are responsible for the choosing. It is a sacred covenant we made with each other and with God.

Marriage is a mystery so wonderful and awesome that Jesus used it as the metaphor for his relationship with his church. It goes far beyond the typical contractual bonds we enter into in our daily dealings with others, though one can barely tell anymore, given the embarrassingly high rates of divorce, even among believers. We have a long way to go in our culture to reclaim what we have so terribly messed up. May those of us who are parents realize our sacred duty to preserve the marriage covenant.

For all those moms and dads who have just been through the joyful pain of letting go of their daughters or sons, and for those who are anticipating it, no matter how far away that day is … chin up. You can do this. You can let go. And in the preparation for it, you have a wonderful opportunity to help redeem those sacred vows — so easily tarnished — before the eyes of a wary world.

Debbie Thurman is an award-winning commentator and author who writes from Monroe, Va. Her e-mail address is

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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