You hold in your hands the book of my heart. I wrote it for those of you who are just now embarking on the great adventure called marriage. But it is written for married couples as well–from newlyweds to those married half a century or more. It is for all of us who, having once said, “I do,” attempt daily to live out the brave promises they spoke in their wedding vows.
The inspiration behind With This Ring came from an unusual place. As a friend and I browsed through a local interior design shop one day, we entered a room that featured a lovely bedroom ensemble. However, it was the calligraphy dancing just below the ceiling that caught my attention.
Along the upper wall, an artist had hand-lettered the words of the traditional wedding vows in a lively mix of painted calligraphy and golden confetti: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony.…”
“How beautiful,” I told my friend as I circled the room, looking upward. “I would love to have this painted in our bedroom.”
A loud snort of disgust interrupted my musings. Turning, I found a middle-aged man shaking his head with a sneer of amusement. “No one means those words anymore,” he said.
Shocked, I replied, “Well, I do.”
“Take it from me, sweetheart,” he said, leaning in as if to let me in on a secret. “The men never do.”
I could only stare at his self-satisfied grin as I pulled back in disbelief. To have a complete stranger be so openly cynical about marriage was new to me.
“Well, take it from me,” I said when I finally found my voice. “My husband meant those words. And he proves it every day.”
I went home shaken and saddened by the exchange, not because I am unaware of the challenges and disappointments marriage sometimes brings, but because the world so easily dismisses what God so highly values.
Out of that encounter at the design shop, however, came a determination to look deeper into the words we say so sincerely, though perhaps a bit naively, when we stand before God and family to become husband and wife. My search to find the meaning of the wedding tokens and traditions and the beauty surrounding them led to the writing of this book.
As you read this book and weave your own story into it, I hope you will find the same inspiration and sense of wonder I experienced as I looked at the history and meaning behind the phrases of the wedding vows and the significance of the wedding ceremony. But even more, I hope you will walk away with the same holy determination to live out those vows daily in a deeper and more meaningful way than ever before.
From this day forward… ’Til death do us part.