**It’s wedding season. Our family is in wedding mode as we anxiously await our daughter’s wedding, to a great guy, Sean. This week I’m pulling from the archives to my dad’s favorite post, an article on treating our spouse with ‘ten cow’ reverence! These are the words I would speak to my daughter and her fiancée in approaching marriage – the same words I heard spoken to my dear friend about 28 years ago.
Entering the church at my dear friend’s wedding some 28 years ago, I was met by an unexpected sight – a live cow stood in a stall, directly behind the front doors – in the center of the entry hall; right next to the guest book. It might have been the smell I remember best.
The point of the cow was to tell everyone that this was a ten cow wife.
No ordinary woman, but a precious and treasured woman, worth not one, but ten cows.
The bride had grown up as a missionary kid in Africa where her dad was a long time bush pilot. My friend had stood out among the native tribes – with her long ash blond hair and sweet disposition – she was seen as a ‘catch’. Her dad had been approached on several occasions with offers of marriage for his beautiful daughter, once being offered the large sum of a whole ten cows as a bride price.
Her dad gave the sermon at this wedding, and he told the story of another ten cow wife from his missionary journeys.
I tell the story, as best as I remember, to remind us of the importance of treating our spouses as great treasure.
Once upon a time… there was a man who fell in love with a lovely woman from a nearby tribe. She captured his heart from the first, and he decided she was the woman he must marry. He was a man of fair means, and had the ability to purchase a bride of great value, as he had a dowry of an entire ten cows at his disposal.
The woman he had chosen, was a woman of good character, attractive stature, and from a family of good standing, but not of ten cow caliber, as considered by the community. She was, perhaps, a five cow wife.
The young man went to her parents to bargain for the woman his heart had settled upon, and much to the surprise of the community he insisted on paying a ten cow dowry to the woman’s family, for such was the value he felt for her.
You know the rest of the story, from that day on this woman’s value changed, she was now looked upon as a truly treasured wife – a woman of great value. From that day on, she became a ten cow wife.
Our treatment of our spouses reflects on their value.
When we treat our husbands and wives with great reverence and respect, when we honor them above ourselves, when we favor them, they become favored ones.
Oh, that my words and my actions and my ways could surround my loved ones, that they would know the great value and treasure they are to me.
The story of the ten cow wife, reminds me of God’s description of His people, us! We are described as His bride, and, He paid a high price for us – a huge dowry – His son’s life.
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God,
keeping His covenant of love to a thousand
generations of those who love Him…”
God enters into a covenant relationship with us – similar to the marriage covenant – a covenant of promise – that He will give us His faithful love forever.
God not only gives us His promise of faithfulness – He rejoices over us – ‘as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride’.
“As a young man marries a young woman,
So will Your builder marry you;
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
So will Your God rejoice over you.”
What a picture of the covenant of marriage and of our relationship with our Creator. A treasure of great worth. A gift of great joy!
**Lord, thank you for not only loving us, but rejoicing over us! Give us Your heart and eyes to see our spouses as You do and teach us to treasure them. To You be the glory!