For the bride and groom: Yield is a funny word.

(Here’s what I told Andrew and Allie during the wedding ceremony)

bride and groomYield is a driving word.
It’s the way you talk about how to join the flow of traffic.
It’s the way you maintain order.
It’s the way that we keep intersections from being demolition derbies.

on the other hand…

Yield is a farming word.
It’s the way you decide whether a crop has been successful.
It’s the way you decide whether to use a particular seed.
You talk about the yield, how many bushels per acre.

And, yield is a triangle.
The yield sign anyway.

Andrew and Allie, when we talked about what it looks like when God is part of a marriage, we started with the Trinity, the Father, Son and Spirit. Not God in relationship, God AS relationship. All love is rooted in and grows out of that relationship.

And at the heart of that triangle, that relationship, there is a yield sign, a deference, a respect. Not out of weakness, but out of strength. (Deference from weakness isn’t love, it’s a survival strategy.) In the self-portrait God provides for us, there is no sense of dominating or surviving, there is loving celebration of each other, yielding the spotlight.

And then, we said, with that triangle as one corner, we make another, with the wife and the husband at the other two corners. God invites us in marriage, as couples, into that triangle, into that relationship.

Yielding isn’t stopping. If there isn’t any traffic, a yield means to keep moving. It really means, “Be aware. Look around. Attend to the others near you.”

This is not the deference of the advice, Andrew, you may hear: “The two most important words for any successful marriage are ‘yes dear’.” And this is not the deference of the stereotype of submission, Allie. Far from it.

All of which is why I find myself drawn to that other image of yielding, the image of growing. Farmers plant seeds which sprout, which grow, which mature, which give additional seeds, some to plant, some to enjoy.

You two have been together so long. You have spent time. You have spent money. You have willingly (usually) done things that the other prefers. You, Andrew,  have given up time for movies. You, Allie, will give up time for the World Cup. You have learned to enjoy things that each other enjoys. Why? Because it means spending time with the one you love.

And the seeds planted, of attention, of respect, of deference, of yielding, have grown into this day.

Allie, you were right. One evening next week you are going to be sitting on the sofa and look at each other and say, “we’re married.”  It will be odd. You will feel like you need to pick up cell phones so you can talk with each other.

But you will grow into this. The two of you will yield to the reality of marriage. And the yield will be amazing.

And so, are you ready?


16 responses to “For the bride and groom: Yield is a funny word.

  1. Beautiful post, beautiful way to describe marriage and something that I, even after 20 years of marriage, have learned a new way to look at my marriage as well! I especially love this advice: “Be aware. Look around. Attend to the others near you.”

  2. You’re such a beautiful writer. The word “yield” is indeed imbued with many meanings, but it took all your vision to give me any sense of mine.

    Congratulations to everyone in this endeavor. You’ve opened the experience up to the community.

    The only thing I want to know is: just how much crying, and how’d you make it through? : )

  3. Karen – thank you so much.

    Chris – we all cried at one point or another. There was a pool on how soon I would start, but no one picked “first word.” However, we all made it through and are doing great.


    I’ve got some video. I haven’t looked at it to see if it worked.

  4. Congrats to all!!

    And Jon, you are wise to point out the importance of yielding – key to staying together. (21 years for Heather and me, in a month or so.)

  5. sob and smile. I can’t imagine being any of the players on this field.

    Indeed- congratulations to each of you.

  6. Congratulations to all! Had I known of the pool, I might have picked first word … or sooner!

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  8. Your words are a gift, Jon. Thank you for sharing this and your moment with them. Congratulations!

  9. What a blessing to read this and be reminded, in time for my anniversary in a little more than a week.

    So much to ponder!

    Yield, triangle, video.

    In our wedding, I was the first to cry, though Peter started it! During his turn, he got choked up, but was successful in holding back tears. Not fair, I tell ya!

  10. Whether it rains or you cry…you still get married… 🙂 I am still happy inside because of that day.

  11. Great picture Jon what wonderful observations and advice. Thanks for sharing.

  12. How skillfully you relate each definition so that they harmonize with each other. The tone of tenderness is genuine representation for what God intended marriage to be:a relationship with Him.

    Yielding to each other reflects tenderness and harmony in marriage. Likewise, when we yield independently to our loving savior, we stay bound together as well.

    Thirty nine years of profitable yield for me.

  13. I am so far behind in replying to comments…. So I’m not going to try. Other than to say, thank you for stopping by (thank you Jill for your love).

    And now we will return to our regularly scheduled life.

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