Yesterday, I took part in a customary emotional milestone every parent inevitably experiences – watching my firstborn graduate Kindergarten. What a roller coaster ride – tears and laughter, sadness and joy, fear and excitement – all wrapped up into one messy ball.
As I watched the tear-jerking slide show play, viewing my daughter and fellow classmates’ baby pictures grace the screen, a beautiful song played…
“Here and now, I’m in the fire and above my head.
Being held under the pressure, don’t know what will be left.
But here in the ashes, I’m finding treasures…
He’s making diamonds, diamonds.
He’s making diamonds out of dust.
He is refining, and in His timing, He’s making diamonds out of us.”
Today, my husband and I celebrate 10 years of marriage! Wow – like where did the time go? I don’t feel old enough to be married a whole decade! I mean, I’ve had cars last less time. But as with each passing anniversary, it’s easy to reflect on the beginning – where it all started – two naïve twenty-somethings, blinded by big dreams and marital bliss. Two spirits, merging as one, with no clue of the journey they were about to embark on or the road ahead.
As I sat, enveloped in my emotional state yesterday, I listened to the words of the song. With my hands on my lap, I glanced down and gazed upon the diamond wedding ring that adorned my fourth finger – the date 06.01.07 engraved inside – a symbol of the covenant I made with my husband that began ten years ago.
Back in 1947, De Beers Jewelry launched its now classic slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” This campaign, originally designed to promote sales, conveyed the historical meaning behind using diamond rings as a symbol of pure love and strength within marriage. Diamonds withstand the test of time, similarly how a marriage was designed to work. As you admire the shiny rock on your finger, consider the four major properties of diamonds: carat, clarity, color, and cut. You might be surprised to discover that marriage holds these very properties too. In fact, I am now convinced that the most beautiful and precious diamond can’t be found in a store (not even if “he went Jared”), but is found within us.
The carat measures the weight of the diamond. The larger the diamond, the more rare it is. When I read this description and the weight of a diamond, I think of Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When you enter into a marriage covenant, you are lovingly bearing your spouse’s burdens – their past, their shortcomings, their weaknesses, their sinful tendencies, EVERYTHING! Even those quirky habits that drive you crazy. But real, authentic love is not measured by emotion, by our own gage of contentment, or even what we can get from our marriage, but how we demonstrate Christ’s love to our spouse. I love what James Harvey wrote about bearing one another’s burdens: “Love is not merely a feeling. Love is defined by covenant and action. True love persists when emotions fail.” We know just as Christ bore the weight of our sin and shame on the cross, so real “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
The clarity of a diamond is determined by the number of tiny characteristics or inclusions it has. The smaller and less frequent the inclusions and surface blemishes, the more valuable and rare the stone. In Ephesians, Paul writes of the comparison of Christ’s love for the church and the husband’s devoted, selfless love for his wife, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” God designed marriage between a man and wife to be the very reflection of the spotless relationship between Christ and His bride (the church). A relationship that is the very definition of atoning forgiveness, humble sacrifice, undeserved grace and perfect love. Real marriage is placing your spouse above yourself, loving without conditions, relentless forgiveness, and graceful servitude.
The color of a diamond, similar, yet different from the clarity, is judged by the hue of the diamond. Diamonds can range from colorless, to faint yellow or even brown, to rare pinks, blues and greens. Most diamonds have some distinguishable color, but the more colorless a diamond, the greater its value. In other words, a pure diamond is of highest quality. The definition of pure means “free from dust, dirt or taint; containing nothing that does not properly belong.” Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” In life and in marriage, circumstances and trials will try to “taint” your color. But when you plant your marriage in the Living Word of God, it will remain steadfast and pure – even through life’s unforeseen changes. There is a reason wedding vows say “for better or for worse,” not “for better or until the road gets rocky.” Diamonds don’t buckle under pressure. In fact, they are refined under pressure. And just like a diamond, “love always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
The cut of a diamond is arguably the most important quality, as it determines the diamond’s reflective qualities. The cut affects its brilliance and the more precise the cut, the brighter the diamond appears. “When a diamond is well cut, light enters through the table (the diamond’s widest part), travels to the pavilion (lower cut of the diamond), and reflects from side-to-side, then pours out so the eye can see its fiery brilliance” (Ross and Simons). Just as a diamond is cut to display the brilliance of its light, so God uses marriage to shape us, refine us and reflect the brilliant light of Christ. If a diamond is improperly cut, the light is not as apparent. Only in the hands of a skilled Master Creator who intentionally molds us, marriage can become more than the dull, monotonous relationship the world makes marriage out to be. But when Christ is woven in you marriage relationship, it will eventually reflect outward and will pierce through the darkness with its beautifully crafted light.
Marriage makes us more like Christ- to be living sacrifices to our spouse, extending grace, exemplifying Christ’s love, honoring our covenant, and shining brightly for Him. Just as the bride uncovers her face from her veil, “So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
De Beers had the right idea – a diamond is forever – purified, refined, strong, and made to eternally shine. Out of the dust and ashes, He’s making diamonds out of us – all to reflect the brilliance of God’s perfect love.
The Humble Homemaker