Oh, how great the planning and how difficult the doing. In my mind I had planned to memorize and recite these words to my bride as she walked down the aisle;

"Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. 
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. 
Flowers appear on the earth; 
the season of singing has come, 
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit; 
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me" (Song of Solomon 2:10).

But time had been given to many other details as I printed, greeted, and prepared for the day. Then, there I was standing in the middle of a room full of people with the expectation of every heart turned towards my face waiting to see my expression. No words came from my mouth. Instead, I simply thought to myself, "Arise my darling…" and knew that I was calling my bride forth. And then, there she was.

That was the moment I had hoped and longed for all these years. It had been the subject of so much musing, so many writings, and so many conversations. The delay had been so long that I had nearly become a hopeful skeptic—sneering at the very dreams my heart nurtured. But there I was and there she was walking towards me.

I had always expected to cry, always expected to see my bride and to be so overwhelmed by the moment that the tears would flow. This had always seemed to me the greatest sign of my love and gratefulness—but I did not cry. It is not that the beauty of my bride did not impress me. I could have easily cried out…

"How beautiful you are, my darling! 
 Oh, how beautiful! 
 Your eyes behind your veil are doves" (
Song of Solomon 4:1).

She was very beautiful and the moment was grand, but I did not cry. I can only think it is because—quite simply—I was enjoying the moment. I was not so overwhelmed that emotion overtook me. No, I was sober and aware of both the gravity and wonder of the moment—but I did not cry. I saw her walking towards me and thought;

"How beautiful you are, my darling! 
 Oh, how beautiful!
 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; 
 your mouth is lovely" (Song of Solomon 4:1). 

I saw her coming and my heart melted. I felt eyes staring at me as I had always stared and wondered what the groom must be thinking being on the threshold of a dream fulfilled. Now I stood there on the threshold of a dream fulfilled thinking;

"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart" (Song of Solomon 4:9).

She walked towards me in the way morning approaches a deep dark night—slowly, soothingly, but with surety and promise. Each step conjured the closing of a distance between the two of us till her last step beside me was the last we would walk alone. That was the juncture of our joining; two hearts, two souls, two lives as one.

There we were hand in hand with the grandeur of the wood rafters rising to cover our words as we shared our vows. I began, "Rachel, I believe you are a gift of grace from God to me and the wait has been well worth it." Now I feel like crying because the waiting has been well worth it. I feel like crying because there is a sense in which, given my particular longing, I had been holding my breath and could finally breathe.

"I praise the Lord for making you the woman you are 
and promise to find my human solace in you, 
all my feminine comfort in you, 
and to hold you as my nearest 
and most intimate friend on earth.
Before God and these witnesses, 
I take you to be my wife,
and vow to cherish your uniqueness,
encourage your creativity,
support your visions,
and by Godly example, 
lead you into greater Christlikeness.
I promise to respect you, 
to protect you, 
to listen to you, 
to hold you and cry with you, 
to laugh and rejoice with you.
Whether we are rich or poor, 
whether we are sick or healthy, 
I will love and cherish you 
until we are parted by death
—so help me God."