The Sanctity of Marriage

Oh, the covenant we are living in. It’s more than rings on hands, it’s the yes to the unknown… What was easy to say is now staring us down. Is it ’til death do us part or ’til a change of heart? Feelings go so far, but where are we when they’re gone?

rs-wedding-221When I made a covenant to my husband in marriage almost six years ago, I signed on for a lifetime. I thought, I am heading into a life of love. Of treasured memories. Making a family. Ministering together. A life of substance. All True. But there are mysteries within the space of marriage, between the lines of those vows I made. God breathes life into that space. It’s sacramental; there’s something supernatural happening in this covenant. Something out of my control and out of Robert’s control. Something clothed in divinity and wisdom.

Marriage is hard. Many don’t last “for better or worse” or “til death do us part.” Going into it, I knew a little about sanctification: God does work in my heart. He allows circumstances to test my faith.

But. I couldn’t possibly comprehend–much less feel–what it would be like to go through not only my own sanctification, but also Robert’s. The stretching, the testing, the trying. The refining fire surely burns in marriage. It burns in the way we see ourselves and our own failings reflected in the hurt of our spouse. It burns in the way we are wounded by their choices, too.

God sets us apart. He makes us new in his love, returning us to our proper, created purpose. The sanctity of self and of marriage hinges upon releasing my white-knuckled grip on what I imagined, intended, or even desired for my marriage. In letting-go I find myself consumed by love that does not run out.

img_4476Each night last week we lit our Advent candle and prayed for Hope. This week we pray for Peace. The little flames are like marriage outside of The Mystery, outside of The Story. They burn rather dimly compared to the gaudy twinkle lights on the tree. Seemingly less powerful than those electric bulbs, the candle-flames are affected by each breath and movement.

And yet, we continue to meditate on the deep symbolism of this Advent wreath and anticipation of the coming Christ. The burning flames are pure and elemental. If allowed, they would grow and provide life-sustaining warmth. The could light up a dark room.

rs-wedding-144Hold the flame of my marriage covenant next to romances of this world, some alluring dramas or epic sparkly love stories… It seems dim and powerless. But hold it closer… let it catch. Allow it to burn anew with the love and light of Christ. I’m in it. The wind may gust through like a hurricane sometimes, but this flame is not going to blow out.

It costs something when we enter the covenant of marriage. There will be struggle. There will be sacrifice. This is what we signed up for.

We are holding on to Him as He is holding on to our covenant. We reflect the greatest story of our King and His Bride. We’re not hidden but shine brightly bearing witness in the night. -Bethany Barnard



Well shoot, the last 5 months have come and gone without a word here. Even though I didn’t find the time to document it, some serious stuff has happened!

We moved from Boston, MA to Savannah, GA and the lowcountry is treating us with true southern hospitality. Not only did we change locale, we moved in with another family of 3. The Archer family. Our toddlers (Archer and Georgia) are certainly going to be confused about first names, last names, and the state we live in. ;) Robert grew up an hour from Savannah, and he is best friends with some folks who still live here in Savannah. So we were automatically plugged into a very rooted and thriving community. Not only that, we’re several weeks into discussions about starting an intentional Christian community here in Savannah. All good things.

I don’t want to skim over our summertime fun, though. So here is a quick recap.

St. Augustine

Archer and I joined my parents in St. Augustine for vacation. During this time, our little man took his first steps!!! Robert stayed back in Boston to pack and move. I am forever grateful because there is nothing I hate more than packing and moving. (even though I’ve done it 7 times in 3 years)


We temporarily lived south of savannah with the Archers. It was tight quarters but helped us really hit the ground running and have some motivation to find the perfect place to live. And we really did find the perfect place to rent for this first year of Savannah life! Next to a park, schools, close to midtown, biking distance from most anything. We love it.

I’ve been doing some photography with Caroline under our name, Victory Stills. Reid and others from our group started an edible landscaping business called Victory Gardens. Robert was working for SCAD at first, but recently began working for the Church we are attending! God is truly affirming our decision to move here over and over and over.


As is apparent here, Archer and Georgia are good pals. More like brother and sister! Georgia calls him “Archer Bean” and when they leave each other’s sight it’s “Where’s Georgia?” or “Where’d Archer go?” What fun we have around here! It’s loud. And really messy. But there is never a lack of entertainment!


Our boy Archer is 19 months old now. And he is just the most fun. Talking up a storm, running around, and so full of personality. We’re so proud and amazed at the little boy he has become since we’ve moved. We just hit the tail of summer here in Savannah, but it was HOT! Hence the diaper-only attire.

So there you have it… Our hearts are full, our home is full, and our life is full. There’s so much more I could say. This is the tiniest tidbit of what we’ve been up to. Hopefully I’ll come back here more often to share life, inspiration, and the like.

.gif + truths + p.s.

look! i did a new thing with some pictures!

things that are true right now:

-it’s too hot. cut it out, new england. you’re better than this.
-if they don’t finish the construction downstairs so help me i will do it for them. precious nap time has been interrupted one too many times this week.
-i just googled: what to cook when it’s too hot to cook. open to suggestions!!! [vegetarian, no nuts, light on the dairy….]
-i’ve figured out to indirectly send photos through cyberspace to my very own instagram account. robert’s iphone > my email > my ipod touch > instagram. i know, right? complicated. not really sure it’s gonna last.
-the bangs are in an uncomfortable growing out stage. especially when stuck to my sweaty forehead.
-archer loooooves bath time and his new baby pool on the patio!!! also crawling around naked is the best and cutest way for him to stay cool.
-robert works too much. BUT i am thankful for his job and his hard work. people love some coffee & pastries! also, he served sam beam some espresso.
-our csa [community supported agriculture] started yesterday at the village farmer’s market! hallelujah amen.
-little bud somehow spilled a bottle of cooking oil on the wood floor yesterday. mopping with hot water + dish soap does wonders.
the handmaid’s tale is what i’m reading and it is so darn good so far. might be reading more margaret atwood in the future…
-just realized there’s a poo diaper sitting on the coffee table. i think that’s my cue…

signing off.

ps- i know. i never posted birth story. robert still hasn’t had a chance to proof it. someday…
pss- another gif for fun… from mother’s day :)

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