martha williamson and husband

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In the months before my wedding, I collected greeting cards of all sorts: beautiful wedding cards, funny wedding cards, blank cards, cards that reminded me of good memories or things to come. I made sure I had exactly the right number of cards so that I could send one to Jon every hour on our wedding day until the ceremony.

On the morning of our wedding, I wrote love letters to Jon, different thoughts to match each card. I wrote about my joy, my gratitude to God, my indifference to the rain, my love for him, and my excitement about the hours to come. I described my feelings as I counted down the hours until we would meet at the altar. I kept a few cards blank and wrote a few other notes as events triggered new thoughts during the day.

Jon was delighted to receive the hourly dispatches, and he sent back notes of his own. It was easy to exchange so many cards, of course, because we were both staying in cottages on the same property, and friends were there to deliver them for us. But whether one letter or many are exchanged, a note to your beloved before your wedding is a precious gift.

What’s so interesting is that I had never written a love letter to Jon before that day. It felt good to commit my thoughts and feelings about him and about our future together on paper, in my own words, before we said the same thing in our vows. Jon later told me how much my messages meant to him. They arrived like clockwork to inspire his prayers and meditations on our special day. And they gave him something to anticipate each hour, making the day pass a little faster.

Now, Jon and I have a precious permanent record of what was going on in our minds and hearts in the hours before we became husband and wife.

The messages read like journal entries, each one a freeze-frame of a particular moment that might have slipped from our memories as time went by. And I found myself saying things to him that I had never said before. That was a revelation.

Because of it, we started what we intend to continue as a lifelong exchange of written expressions of our love, our concerns, our hopes, and our prayers. We have a beautiful antique postbox that sits on a table just inside the entrance to our home. It is our private post office. Whenever the spirit moves us, we write notes for each other and drop them into the box. I never cease to get a thrill when I open the box and find a new note from Jon. And I take great comfort in scribbling, at odd moments, those thoughts of him and for him which might otherwise have gotten lost in the maelstrom of our busy lives.

It is as though we have two relationships. One is verbal and ephemeral, dependent entirely on what each of us remembers about what was said and how intently each of us was listening at any given moment. The other relationship is tangible, captured forever on paper. It constitutes irrefutable evidence of our love in words that can be studied and cherished and referred to again and again as our relationship grows richer and stronger with each passing year.

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