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“I got something for you!” Rachel’s tone conveyed more excitement than Jacob had seen in weeks, maybe months.
“A key to your suite?” he joked as she used hers to let them into the main living area. Each of the suites looked pretty much the same other than individualized decorations, which caught Jacob’s attention the minute he stepped in the door.
Leah’s suite, where he had spent the past week, was decorated in elegant neutral tones of beige and creamy whites and accented with gray. Rachel’s had color. Although the walls were mostly white, they were adorned with artwork. A theme of forest green and violet seemed to dominate.
“Got you one of those too.” She winked at him and held up an electronic key card that had been lying on the table beside the door. A gilded mirror hung above the table just like the one in his apartment, and he caught their reflection. Momentarily distracted, he stepped behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his head on her shoulder and meeting her gaze in the mirror.
“Look at that beautiful bride.” Jacob couldn’t take his eyes off Rachel. Her white dress was simple and understated, form fitting and embroidered. With her hair swept up into curls and wrapped around a wide band of gold, she looked like a queen. “I’m honored to be your husband,” he whispered.
“I’m honored to be your wife.” She smiled softly through the mirror, then her features grew more animated, and she wiggled her eyebrows at him. “Now, do you want to see your gift or not?”
“Yes, show me my gift.” He unwrapped himself and stepped away.
“Come on, it’s in here.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him into the bedroom. He willingly followed. Rachel picked up two forest-green throw pillows from on top of the thick, violet comforter and handed one to him. “That’s for you.”
“Uh…” He held the pillow in his hand, and she kept the other one hugged to her chest, smiling at him as if she’d given him the most valuable wedding present she could think to buy. “Thank you?”
“It’s a prayer pillow.” Her eyes shone with the excitement of a child. “For your knees… well, for our knees. One for you, and one for me.” She held out the one she had clutched to her chest.
“You got me a…” Jacob was dumbfounded and in awe of this incredible woman he was fortunate enough to have married. He was reminded of the vision he’d had the first time they’d prayed together of the two of them kneeling in prayer just before climbing into bed together. “Oh, my love. I don’t know what to say.”
“You will.” She reached for his hand, pulling him closer, and flopped her pillow onto the floor beside the bed, then pulled his out of his hands as he stood there in shock. Placing his beside hers, she lowered to her knees and tugged on his hand, encouraging him to kneel with her. “You always know what to say when you’re talking to God.”
Jacob knelt on the pillow, facing her, and held both of her hands in his. “How could I ever ask God for another gift for the rest of my life when he has already given me you?”
“How about if you ask him to bless our marriage?” Rachel asked with an expectant smile.
“I suppose that’s a good place to start.” It took Jacob a minute to release her gaze and bow his head, but finally he did, then took a deep breath and spoke from his heart. “Father, this day you have granted me and Rachel a gift beyond that which I ever could have imagined in all my life. Nothing on this earth could possibly compare to your glory and yet this comes closer than anything I’ve ever experienced.”
Part of Jacob’s heart was broken that he couldn’t have shared his whole self with her just as she was sharing her whole self with him, but he forced himself to remember that this was part of God’s plan, and they were following his direction. He continued.
“Thank you for this righteous woman whom you have given to me in marriage. Help me to be worthy of her love and trust and devotion. Help me to be the spiritual leader and head of her household that you have called me to be. Give me the gift of discernment of how best to guide our family unto you.” Jacob paused and took a deep, shaky breath, then closed his heartfelt prayer. “At this time, Father, we ask that you bless our marriage with love and happiness and if it be your will that we might bring forth your children. We devote this night unto you. Amen.”
“Amen,” Rachel echoed.
When Jacob opened his eyes, he was met with happy tears streaking his wife’s cheeks and the Spirit of God was wrapped so closely around them that there was almost a physical pull to join himself with her.
They had yet to kiss one another. For some reason that hadn’t been part of their solemn ceremony before her father and sisters. Something about the moment just didn’t feel right, as if kissing Rachel in front of Leah would somehow cheapen the moment.
This was the right time and place, kneeling together before the one witness who watched their every move, heard their every thought, and directed their path in life. Jacob leaned closer, and Rachel met him halfway across the distance, pressing her lips to his in one simple, quick kiss. There was no desire behind the gesture. It was almost more of a sealing of the blessing they’d just received.
After pushing himself off the floor, Jacob helped Rachel to her feet, then wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.
He lifted his hands and cradled her face before lowering his lips to hers for a more loving kiss than they’d shared after their prayer, still restrained and tentative, as if he wanted to savor the touch and make every moment count with her from now until eternity.
Turning Rachel around, he began gently pulling hair pins from around the band of gold that acted as a crown until long ringlets draped over her shoulders. He pulled them aside and kissed her neck before reaching for the zipper of her dress. Slowly, savoring each click of the tines, he lowered the zipper, relishing the opportunity to touch her bare back before sliding the heavy satin over her shoulders and letting it fall to the floor.
As he stood behind her, occasionally kissing her neck and cheeks, Jacob unfastened his own buttons and removed his clothing, never turning her around until they were both completely vulnerable for one another, nothing between them.
Without allowing his eyes to roam over the beautiful figure he knew stood before him, Jacob pushed aside the comforter and sheets and lifted his bride into his arms, placing her gently onto the bed and tucking himself in beside her. They pulled the sheets and blankets around themselves and held each other in the dark, skin to skin.
Their lovemaking was an extension of their prayer.
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