Our third anniversary was a couple of weeks ago. We always tend to stick to tradition and buy gifts based on the theme for our specific year. Except this year, the theme was leather.
All I could think was: What in the world am I supposed to buy for my husband? He prides himself in picking out his own unique, compact wallet, and he has plenty of belts and shoes already.
While searching for a gift for my darling husband, I stumbled upon the meaning behind leather as a third anniversary gift. Leather represents strength and durability. How poetic!
That snippet I read about the reason behind leather inspired me to write this post. In my quest, I discovered how leather was used in the Bible and how leather is made today by tanners. Of course, I also connected the Biblical references of leather and the process of making leather to caring for our marriages.
How to Make Leather
Much preparation goes into the making of leather. Even before the cow or other animal is slaughtered, tanners do what they can do to make the quality of the leather strong. They make sure the animal is well-fed and is not exposed to insects.
On that fateful day, a cow sacrifices its life in order to make this fine material. In every part of the process, the tanner uses care and precision to clean, salt, and prepare the leather. If the tanner delays in any way, the leather could become too dry too quickly.
Leather in the Bible
Generally, in the Bible, leather is used to make clothes and for writing. Leather is also called “skin” or “hide” in some translations.
Leather Used as Clothes
The Israelites wore leather in the form of belts and shoes. In fact, the first clothes ever created were made of leather.
- Genesis 3:21. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
- 2 Kings 1:8. They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
- Matthew 3:4. Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
- Mark 1:6. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.
Leather Made by a Tanner
Tanners are not mentioned in the Bible that often because the Jews considered them unclean. The trade of the tanner was probably learned in Egypt. In one instance, Peter stayed with a tanner named Simon, demonstrating the shift of what (and who) was considered unclean.
- Acts 9:43. And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.
- Acts 10:6. “…he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.”
Leather in Old Testament Sacrifice
Leather was part of the sacrifice price given to the priest.
- Leviticus 7:8. Also the priest who presents any man’s burnt offering, that priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has presented.
Leather Used as a Writing Medium
Leather was a popular medium for writing during Old Testament times, even though it was not specifically mentioned in the Bible. The remnants we have of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written on leather.
The Bible mentions writing to remember what has happened and to anticipate what will happen (see Revelation 1:19). The LORD instructs the people of Israel to have the written law all over their homes, so that they may remember what He has done (see Deuteronomy 6:8-9).
Why Do We Celebrate Our Third Anniversary With Leather?
Leather reminds us of the sacrifice we make in our marriages. Its fragility in the formation, yet its strength and durability as a result, is a perfect symbol of our marriage.
Before we even met, we made sure we lived a quality life instead of waiting until marriage for our lives to finally begin. When preparing for marriage and starting our marriage, we cleaned up our marriage by going to pre-marital counseling, joining a couples Bible study, and practicing open communication with one another. The seasons of hardship and the dry seasons we’ve endured so far have only made us stronger.
With the symbol of leather in mind, we can adhere to these resolutions:
- We remember the faithfulness of God and will make memories to remind ourselves of His presence in our marriage and beyond.
- The love we share protects us from whatever storms we will face in the future.
- We recognize the sensitivity of this beautiful gift, but we trust God’s process for our lives together.
From the very beginning, our marriage has been an adventure. I’m thankful that we’ve been through so much so early on in our marriage. Now, whatever we face, we are together with our eyes fixed on God.
Gifts for Our Third Anniversary
So, what did I gift my husband for our third anniversary? I was creative and bought him a different type of leather: beef jerky! He had never tried it before, so it was fun to experience our first impressions of beef jerky together.
Lenny bought me a beautiful leather journal. The journal part is replaceable, so even when I finish the journal, I can still use the leather cover for my future journals. Now, I can write down all that God is doing in our lives to remind us of His faithfulness over the years.
You could give your spouse a leather gift, such as a leather-bound book or an autographed baseball. Whatever you give, may your gift remind you both of the strength of your marriage and all that you have accomplished so far.