I was surprised how a passing invitation for my friends in the DFW area to join me at event with tattooist and friend Tristan Bradshaw this morning, generated a viral response – at least viral by my post standards! The event was sponsored by Connecting Things – a group committed to sharing the stories and work of local creatives in our area. I made the off-handed remark that though I don’t wear ink, I was going to support Tristan who’s art is permanently displayed on the skin of so many of my friends. People posted their surprise and consternation on my lack of skin art. My reply was simple enough: out of respect for the preference of my wife to “not cover up any of my beautifulness,” I have chosen not to be inked. I’ll leave the veracity of her description of me to you!

This got me thinking about potential tattoos that my wife and I could get to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. That led me to discover the East Asian legend of the Red String of Marriage. If you’re a fan of Japanese Manga, you’ve likely seen it in series like Kekkaishi, Loveless or Nana. We in the west get the idea of a “pinky swear” from this myth.

According to Chinese legend, the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a specific way. In Japanese culture, it is thought to be tied around the little finger. In both instances, those connected by the red threads are destined to be lovers, regardless of place, time or circumstance.

As followers of Jesus, both Chris and I believe that Yahweh God destined – dare I say predestined – us to be together long before we ever met. It was no chance meeting between a native Minnesotan and native New Yorker on that campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee. God joined us together that day and began weaving his thread into ours to create “a cord of three strands that is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Our thirty years together has proven that marriage takes three: me, my wife and God. It is God who has taught us how to love. It is God who has bound us together through the ups and downs of thirty years of married life and the one who will bind us together for thirty more.

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