I’ll be completely honest. I have absolutely no idea what vows my husband and I exchanged at our wedding. We did not write them ourselves, but relied on the pastor who officiated the ceremony to guide us. The day was such a complete blur of nerves, happiness, and all the emotions, that the words we spoke seem distant right now. I do remember our pastor referring to our marriage as a covenant though. At the time, I thought of that as just the fancy “church word” for contract, but as I’ve learned recently, I could not have been more wrong.
This week, our pastor focused on leadership in the marriage, specifically the difference between a contract and a covenant. A contract, by definition, is a written or spoken agreement, where one party agrees to provide goods or service to another party in exchange for some sort of payment. It is purely transactional. Basically, it means that if I do something in particular for you, you agree to do something in return for me. A covenant is entirely different. Webster’s defines covenant as an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment. There is no transaction, just a promise with no strings attached. Covenants are what God forms with his people over and over in the Bible. He promises to love them, make them flourish and prosper. While he asks for obedience in return, His love was never contingent on that obedience. He was always there, no matter what. The marriage covenant is meant to mirror that same type of commitment. That commitment is to love and honor your partner without asking for anything in return. It isn’t about transaction, but about transforming you and your partner, bringing you closer to each other by also bringing you closer to God. It is a beautiful thing.
Our pastor illustrated this point with a series of questions posed in a transactional way versus a transformational way which I found very impactful. I decided to record these questions in my Bible in Genesis, where man and woman are first joined together. I began by choosing some lovely Vicky Boutin die-cut florals that I would draw my color pallet from. I also knew that I wanted to include that scales of justice, but show them off-kilter. To me, that is what transformation is all about. It’s not about everything being “fair”, but about putting the needs of others before yourself and demonstrating true servant-leadership. I don’t consider myself gifted at drawing realistic things, so my go-to technique is using Google. Seriously, you can find any image you are looking for by googling the name of the image you want and adding “simple” or “easy”. This will either lead you to a drawing tutorial, or to an image that you can print out. Sometimes I trace these images, but on this occasion, I decided to cut it out and use it directly on my page.
I then selected a few colors of neocolor that I wanted to use to “ink smoosh” around the page. This is a simple mixed media technique to use on any page! All you need is a little bit of plastic packaging and some water. I colored some neocolor on the packaging, sprayed it with a bit of water and used a paint brush to mix the two elements. Then you just use clear packaging to transfer the color around your page in a dobbing motion. So easy, and such an effective way to make a beautiful background! While the neocolor ink was drying, I typed and printed the questions that I wanted to use on the page so that I could be sure they would fit nicely in the areas I had in mind.
After fussing a bit with all of my page elements, I finally started adhering things down. I did end up adding some black marker to the edge of all my die-cut pieces to set them apart a little more and to add some more black detailing to the page. I made an attempt at some hand-lettering for my title and then added few puffy hearts around the page to create some dimension.
I love this page, and I feel like it is one that I will come back to over and over as a reminder of the transformational mindset that God desires us to have in our marriage. It is a reminder of the covenant between my husband and I and how that is so different from the contracts we encounter in our culture every day. Plus, getting to fill a completely blank page in my Bible was so fun to do!
Keep it creative,
-The Scrappy Wife