Stay Together With Leather

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.

Photo by on Unsplash


Why the Second Year Should Be the Second Hardest

Last year, I wrote about why the first year of marriage is the hardest. I discussed how marriage is sacrifice, and how we need to lay down our independence in order to fully love our spouses.

I grew up with the idea that my husband will make all my problems disappear. Anyone who has been married past “I do” can tell you that marriage is very hard work! However, while Lenny doesn’t make all my problems go away, he makes it easier to face them. He has been a wonderful accountability partner, and in the midst of the challenge, we make it fun.

In our first year of marriage, Lenny and I did everything together. Everything was a new experience for us. Even though I had gone to the grocery store before, it was a new adventure altogether going with my husband for the first time! Whatever we did, we did with fresh eyes. From going on two family vacations, to spending the holidays together, to moving into a new apartment and starting new jobs, we had a lot of energizing moments that propelled our first year of marriage and made it interesting.

Our society loves to chase the new and exciting. We’ve learned during our second year of marriage that we can’t do that. Once the first anniversary comes and goes, life goes on. And, to be honest, life gets a little boring. Although we did have some excitement this year, like starting new jobs, going on vacation with my family, and moving into yet another apartment, for the most part, we’re settling into a routine. Lenny and I are now officially in the jobs that we’ll probably have for the rest of our lives.

Most of us have been trained to think about the next best thing. Literally, right after we got married, people already asked me when I was having children. Can we just agree to stop that? If you’re in the midst of that now, trust me, people eventually stop asking you! However, even when you attain that next milestone, the questions never stop. When are you going to get a house? When are you going to put your kids in school? When are you having a second, third, or fourth baby? What is your two-year-old going to study college?

Looking toward the next best thing is a form of escapism. If we don’t like our reality, we tend to focus on a fantasy future that will make our present a little more bearable. Since I’m used to that way of thinking, it is often tempting not to enjoy what God has given us now and focus on what we still need to attain. We find ourselves discontent that life has settled, because nothing new and exciting is happening. While I know this lull happens multiple times in marriage, the second year is the hardest because this is the first time we experience it.

During your first year of marriage, when everything is new, when you’re practically treated as celebrities, it is easy to be emotionally invested in your marriage. However, as life goes on, you have to fight to enjoy the mundane. Practice thankfulness each day. Vocalize your thankfulness to your spouse; show what you appreciate about him/her and about what is going on in your life. When you focus on the positive, the negative seems to fade away.

I believe we have made the most out of this season of settling. We have been intentional about demonstrating thankfulness for what God has given us in this season. Since God has made it clear that we are in this season until further notice, we’ve decided not to bring up certain milestones until we feel God’s peace. Until then, we’ve learned to vocalize our contentment, with our dreams for our future in the back of our heads. We have our goals written down and posted on our refrigerator. To me, that means we are aware of them, but they’re not our focus. In the midst of the waiting and the living, no matter what we endure together, Lenny and I have each other. And that’s what makes marriage an adventure.

Although, maybe it would be a little easier if we still had our wedding cake from two years ago!

Photo by Stephen Cook on Unsplash