Song of Solomon 5:2 “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.” This verse demonstrates that a mature marriage is a many faceted relationship, just like a well-cut diamond. Marriage provides the protective freedom to develop almost the entire gamut of relationship possibilities. For example, two people may start out as friends (or in a few cases I’ve known…enemies!), and if they’ve known each other from childhood, they may be almost like siblings. If they meet as young adults, they may begin as classmates or coworkers. However their relationship begins, if it progresses into a lasting love and they eventually marry, the two become not only friends but also husband and wife. Over the next few years, they establish strong ties as partners, teammates, and often parents. As the relationship deepens into a tested trust, the couple will also take on alternating roles for each other as teacher/learner, parent/child, nurse/patient, shepherd/sheep, etc. Eventually, if they allow the blows of the hammer in God’s hand to cut and polish their relationship (instead of giving up in despair because the process is so long and painful)… as the two work, play, and learn to negotiate all the struggles and triumphs of life together, they continue to develop more varied and deeper relationships. Finally, their marriage begins to sparkle with the richness and depth of a many-faceted diamond that has been well cut and carefully polished. It is at this stage of marriage that the couple is able to truly appreciate the value of what God has done in them. Perhaps that’s why the seventy-fifth anniversary is called the “diamond” anniversary…because so few of us get there! Sadly, fewer and fewer marriages are enduring long enough under the pressure and heat necessary to create such beautiful relationships, but this is God’s plan and potential for each marriage if the couple will only faithfully continue their pilgrimage together and trust God’s mercy to lead them. Will you? Dear Father, please strengthen us with your grace so that we may endure to the end as polished jewels, radiating your love to our mates and to the world around us. May it be said of us, “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:17).