(Here’s what I told our son Andrew and Allie (go read that one for the background and the non-vows) during their wedding ceremony two years ago yesterday. Happy anniversary you two. You are doing great. )
on the other hand…
Yield is a farming word.
It’s the way you decide whether a crop has been successful.
It’s the way you decide whether to use a particular seed.
You talk about the yield, how many bushels per acre.
And, yield is a triangle.
The yield sign anyway.
Andrew and Allie, when we talked about what it looks like when God is part of a marriage, we started with the Trinity, the Father, Son and Spirit. Not God in relationship, God AS relationship. All love is rooted in and grows out of that relationship.
And at the heart of that triangle, that relationship, there is a yield sign, a deference, a respect. Not out of weakness, but out of strength. (Deference from weakness isn’t love, it’s a survival strategy.) In the self-portrait God provides for us, there is no sense of dominating or surviving, there is loving celebration of each other, yielding the spotlight.
And then, we said, with that triangle as one corner, we make another, with the wife and the husband at the other two corners. God invites us in marriage, as couples, into that triangle, into that relationship.
Yielding isn’t stopping. If there isn’t any traffic, a yield means to keep moving. It really means, “Be aware. Look around. Attend to the others near you.”
This is not the deference of the advice, Andrew, you may hear: “The two most important words for any successful marriage are ‘yes dear’.” And this is not the deference of the stereotype of submission, Allie. Far from it.
All of which is why I find myself drawn to that other image of yielding, the image of growing. Farmers plant seeds which sprout, which grow, which mature, which give additional seeds, some to plant, some to enjoy.
You two have been together so long. You have spent time. You have spent money. You have willingly (usually) done things that the other prefers. You, Andrew, have given up time for movies. You, Allie, will give up time for the World Cup. You have learned to enjoy things that each other enjoys. Why? Because it means spending time with the one you love.
And the seeds planted, of attention, of respect, of deference, of yielding, have grown into this day.
Allie, you were right. One evening next week you are going to be sitting on the sofa and look at each other and say, “we’re married.” It will be odd. You will feel like you need to pick up cell phones so you can talk with each other.
But you will grow into this. The two of you will yield to the reality of marriage. And the yield will be amazing.
And so, are you ready?