For Better or For Worse

Falling in love is like falling off a cliff.

Complete Audio Story with songs

Falling in love is like falling off a cliff.

In fact, I heard of one couple who did just that. They had fallen in love despite large differences. Their families were staunchly against the marriage because of huge differences in religion. The couple determined to overcome them, for they were in madly in love. In their determination, they became distraught and overwhelmed with the difficulties. The path they took was meant to teach their families a lesson, including a Romeo and Juliet style ending.

They went to a cliff overlooking a large river and vowed to “love each other unto death.” With tears streaming down their faces, they held each other in a final embrace and counted to three… and then she jumped. She jumped, he didn’t. Far below, in the cold, fast moving water, she looked up at him and yelled, motioning for him to jump. He refused.

Exasperated and exhausted, she swam to the edge and climbed out. A short distance away she found a policeman and insisted he arrest her fiancé who had broken his vow to her.

Traditional Christian marriage vows use the words, for better or worse, which doesn’t make marriage look very appealing. Instead, it makes marriage look like a leap of faith off that cliff.

Yip and I have been married for 45 years. Our first year throbbed with heartache and misunderstandings. We needed a private mediator—God was perfect. Even when angry and not talking to each other, we could talk to God. It was a release; like letting the steam out of the pressure cooker.

The Deep Deep Love

Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus.

Vast, unmeasured, boundless free,

Rolling as a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me.

Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love;

Leading onward, leading homeward, to my glorious rest above.

God compares His relationship with us to a marriage. Being the bride of God sounds heavenly and romantic, but when He chooses us as His bride, we should expect a long, hard road. Face it, being married to Divinity is not going to be easy. Though we are far from perfect, God covers us with love, forgiveness and grace. Otherwise, we’d never stand a chance. It’s hard to believe Yip and I successfully crossed all those raging rivers, deep valleys, and avoided falling off cliffs. Looking back, there were so many hidden mines ready to blast us into oblivion. We couldn’t always see them coming, but tried to work or way through them as they flared up.

We had just met each other when we encountered Jesus. Meeting Jesus changed us; our character, our perspectives, our vision and aims. Meeting each other changed the course of our lives. It all happened simultaneously. As a threesome, the road ahead was not completely visible, but we went headlong down it. Jesus died on the cross for us, and Jesus was just what Yip and I needed to begin new life. Marriage showed us just how much we needed God. Without Him, we never would have been “Yip and Frieda.”

I never imagined I’d find my perfect guy. So, when I met Yip, who was everything I wanted in a husband, I never considered marriage. Yip was out of my league. Why would such a wonderful man consider me? Given my high ideals, who would be interested in me? But Yip also had high ideals, thinking he’d never find a girl to marry him. Happily, we both were quite wrong.

We had been working in a children’s home working as mom and dad to the kids. When Yip finally got down to the question of marriage, he was very unsure of himself. I could see him squirming around inside himself. He hemmed and ha-ed’, until he finally spit it out, “You are mother to the girls, and I’m father to the boys… seems like a good way to run a family. Do you want to get married?”

A friend had given me a head’s up on Yip’s intentions, so I had already prayed over it thoroughly; “God, if you don’t want me to marry him, you’re gonna’ have to stop me.”

Looking into Yip’s deep eyes as he stood waiting for my reply, I realized that as yet, I had not been struck down by lightning—nor had divine intervention stopped me. So, I confidently replied to Yip’s question, “Yes.”

In the past 45 years, I’ve discovered the “for worse” was regularly used out of context in a sort of blame game when we didn’t see eye to eye. Marriage doesn’t mean automatic perfection; in fact, perfection doesn’t have anything to do with marriage. Our commitment of marriage meant we agreed to accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses, support each other in our shortcomings, hold each other accountable and encourage each other. Ove the past year illness and surgery turned my independent way of life upside-down. I’m now dependant. Yip has taken me on once again, with renewed vows, the new me, with all my shortcomings.

For better or for worse couldn’t be more of a misnomer. Regarding “for worse,” the harder the going, the deeper the commitment and personal sacrifice. And with sacrifice, suffering shows up. Suffering is transformed into the gold of growing together, and growing closer to Jesus; being made into his image. Commitment, sacrifice, suffering. That is the way of the cross. That is the bride of Christ.

Marriage. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Of course, there is the inevitability of death which ends earthly marriage. Looking at my present poor state of health, I wanted to assure Yip that he has my full permission to marry when I die, as long as “she” isn’t 20 years younger. His reply was, “But how would I be Yip and Frieda?”

So, far beyond looking at the pain, the sacrifice and suffering, I try to stay focused on Jesus. I hold on to my vows from:

Song of Songs: 4:6
The “for worse” is always a “for better,” because suffering love pitches us into an ocean of deep, very deep, love of Jesus.

Our Song of Songs

I’ve made up my mind. Until the darkness disappears and the dawn has fully come, in spite of the shadows and fears, I will go to the mountaintop with you—the mountain of suffering love and the hill of burning incense. Yes, I will be your bride.

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