For Better or Worse

We took our vows seriously on our wedding day, and we have every day since.

Our vows were long. I remember looking through the proposed vow options in the packet given to us by our church. I couldn’t decide, Robert liked them all and so we combined them. There was something of the traditional, for better or worse and in sickness and health. There was reference to the book of Ruth and his God being my God, his people being my people. We covered all the high points, not wanting to leave anything out. We took our vows seriously on our wedding day, and we have every day since.

We started our sixth year of marriage expecting our third child and settling into a relatively new town and job. We lived in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood and we had found a home church that we were beginning to get involved in. During the fall of 2015, Robert and I both sensed a restlessness. Not with each other, but with life in general. What were we doing? What were we really doing to serve the Lord? There seemed to be no obvious answer, but we continued to pray, discuss and seek God’s Word.

In October 2015, in the middle of a worship service at church, tears started streaming uncontrollably down my cheeks. I looked at Robert and he shook his head in agreement. We left the sanctuary in the middle of the service to talk privately in an empty Sunday School class room. “We need to sell our house,” I said with tears streaming down my face. Robert said, “I know. I don’t know why we’re supposed to sell it, but I know that’s what we’re supposed to do.” I was almost 8 months pregnant and the next day we put our house on the market.

Selling our home was one of the first impractical decisions Robert and I had ever made in our marriage. There was literally no reason to sell it, except that God told us to and that was reason enough. We prayed, we consulted Scripture and I personally tried to figure out every or any conceivable reason the Lord might be asking us to leave our home and neighborhood. He never gave us a reason and almost five years later, I still couldn’t exactly tell you what the reason might have been. What we learned was obedience. We learned to be obedient to the Lord, even when it didn’t make sense. We learned that when big confusing decisions were made, we had to make them together while following the Lord. We sold our home several months later, rented an old home and started building a house across town.

We learned to be obedient to the Lord, even when it didn’t make sense.

If people told us that the first year, the first five years or even the first baby were going to be challenging, the same people deemed that building a house together seemed to be an impossible feat in comparison. However, true to our expectations during our engagement, we knew that God would build our marriage, our family and now even our literal house. The process was not without disagreements, some impatience and a few unexpected situations. In the end, we worked well together and we cherish the house that the Lord built us.

One of the greatest surprises in the midst of building our new home was the news that we were expecting our fourth child, Jane. Jane was born six weeks before we moved into our brand new house. Four kids under the age of five, a new home, an old dog and seven year marriage. It was beautiful chaos. I would end the day exhausted and in utter disbelief at the goodness of God. As if the gospel was not blessing and grace enough, the Lord had and has lavished us with so many good gifts.

My love for Robert has grown every year that we have been married. After moving into our new home and settling down with baby number four, things seemed to calm down for a while. Life was busy, because life with four children, a job and community involvement usually is busy. But we settled into a consistent rhythm and enjoyed predictability. Robert did and has continued to faithfully lead and serve our family. We have enjoyed living, traveling, teaching, laughing and so many more things together. Robert is genuinely my best friend. Last year when the movie Little Women came out I told Robert I wanted to go see it. He told me to call my best friend and have a night out. I replied with a smile, “but you’re my best friend.” He laughed and said, “Call your next best friend, I’ll keep the kids.” Our love is easy and he constantly tells me when certain social events or opportunities arise that he would rather just spend time with me. He means it and I believe him. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t say, “I love you” multiple times a day. Usually the phrase is followed by, “you’re my favorite.” It’s true, we are each others favorite person.

There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t say, “I love you” multiple times a day. Usually the phrase is followed by, “you’re my favorite.” It’s true, we are each others favorite person.

In the midst of those long vows we made to each other almost ten years ago was the promise to love each other for better or for worse. To be fair, most of our years together have been better. But on a winter evening in February, we experienced the worst. With first responders flooding our home, two children crying on the sofa, I called Robert incoherently sobbing. A trooper had to take the phone and tell him to come home immediately. Robert never left my side. His hand never left mine while hearing the words, “I’m sorry, it isn’t good news.” Robert was the one who helped me change into pajamas when I didn’t feel like I could physically stand anymore. Robert never let go of me throughout the entire night, while we both sobbed over the loss of our daughter. I remember looking at him panicked and saying “Robert, some people don’t make it through things like this. These are the things that ruin marriages and families.” Robert calmly and gently held my face in his hands, looked into my eyes and said, “Casey, we are going to make it. God made our marriage and God will sustain it. We’re in this forever.” He was right and I trusted him in that moment just like I did ten years ago when he made his vows.

I’ve talked to many young girls on the brink of marriage, or perhaps waiting for “the one”. So many talk about their hopes and dreams, they ask to hear about our story. Robert and I don’t have a unique, interesting or witty story. I don’t think we experienced love at first sight and I don’t think we really knew what we were doing when we said we were ready to get married after only a couple of months of dating. I do know that our marriage is important and it is special, because it is ours. God created our love, He sustains it and our aim is not to make much of ourselves, but to glorify the Lord through our life, marriage and family. God has honored that and I believe He will continue to honor our desire to serve Him well. I have no poetic or outlined advice for young girls embarking on married life, except to keep your eyes on Jesus and knit your heart together with a man who is doing the same.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and knit your heart together with a man who is doing the same.

Ten years ago, I could have never imagined the better or worse that the Lord had in store for us. But I chose then to love Robert and I choose that everyday. I don’t know what the future has in store either. But I trust God and I trust Robert. There is no one on this earth that I would rather stand by. Whether joy or sorrow, sickness or health, better or worse, no matter what tomorrow might bring, I’m thankful to face it with Robert. What God has joined together, let no man separate.

Happy Anniversary, Robert. I love you and you will always be my favorite.

2 responses to “For Better or Worse”

  1. Your marriage is the most beautiful picture of Christ and His church I’ve ever seen. It reflects His unconditional, sacrificial love so well. I pray all marriages could be this committed and all couples would have a forever marriage. Love you both!

    Like

  2. Vicki Hamrick says:

    Dearest Casey,
    Thanks to you and Robert for the perfect example of what a true Christian marriage looks like! Watching you hold hands and trust God through the good and the bad is a shining light for so many couples who are struggling.
    Thanks for being the Light that so many need right now.
    In His name,
    Vicki Hamrick

    Like

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