Marriage is ordained by God for the long-haul. It’s a lot like breathing in that we do it because it happens naturally. We fall in love and we get married, a logical progression. Many times, we don’t think too much about what might come in the future. We just think we want to be with that person for the rest of our lives.

Mr. and Mrs. Jason Chapman

Mr. and Mrs. Jason Chapman


We love marriage when our spouse agrees 100 percent with our opinion about everything. However, we don’t grow in that kind of relationship. We grow in the give and take and tough spaces of life when we don’t agree and yet somehow understand the other in that disagreement.

A good marriage should be made up of the moments where we can’t help but hold our breath because it is exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time, those times that are intensely good and those that are intensely bad. In the difficult times we begin a process of growth and plant seeds for a more united tomorrow if we hold on to each other through them.

It comes in those times when we hold our breath because we don’t want the moment to pass. It also comes in the times when we hold our breath because we are afraid of what comes next. Both are good. Both facilitate strength. Both make us a better couple.

The prose poem below, I wrote for my cousin, Kimberly Carr, as she celebrated her wedding to Jason Chapman. I don’t know Jason well, but I wrote this piece for both of them because marriage is made up of two whole people who experience life together. I wish for Jason and Kimberly a lifetime of moments where they can’t help but hold their breath.



Breathing by Teresa Shields Parker
For Jason and Kimberly Chapman, March 15, 2014

We breathe in,
A breath to hold us through 50 years and beyond,
to mold and meld two wholes into something
much greater.

We breathe in,
Holding our breath for this day,
this occasion to mark a beginning that has already begun,
a glorious unveiling in celebration and solitude.

We breathe in,
Each rising moment to collect all the beauty and splendor
God has given us in each other, tumbling through time,
holding on to all that is us.

We breathe in,
The smell of our lover’s after shave, the softness of his shirt,
his glowing pride when we achieve a milestone goal,
him reading to our children.

We breathe in,
And pray for the pain and heartache of raised concerns to cease,
hoping we agree on the choice for which we both have no real idea,
hoping God will make it right.

We breathe in,
All that is life–the good, the difficult, laughter, pain, decision,
knowing, expecting, believing we will see God’s goodness
in the land of the living.

We breathe in,
Fresh air, new life, creation, majesty, exaltation, silence,
music, joy, faith, hope, love,
seeds of Blessing.

We breathe in,
A collective God-breath fastening us together,
binding us today and forever until that day when
we breathe out.

Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.