ten years today.
i have been married for roughly one third of my life.
ten years ago. november first two thousand and three. i said "i do" to a life i could not imagine.
i was not a nervous bride. not even in the slightest. i was ready. i was eager. i could not wait to marry p and start the rest of my life with him by my side.
i wanted to elope. i wanted to get the wedding done and over with. weddings can bring so much drama and craziness and i hated every moment of that drama and craziness and the "you shouldn't marry her" and the “it won’t last” and the opinions.
i was young. not as young as my grandmothers who were both teenagers when they got married. i was twenty. p twenty one.
i think people worried a lot about us and if we knew what we were doing. i think people still worry about us and if we know what we are doing.
we didn't and we don't.
i was sure though. i knew for a fact what some others couldn’t see. that God had put p and i together and that He intended for us to live our life as one.
it was going to be messy and hard and wonderful. it was not going to be at all easy. it was going to bring lots of heartache and joy, sometimes simultaneously. and we were going to take the journey together.
when you put two personalities together-two sinful people with their own ideas and opinions and thoughts and ways of doing things-you get a lot of chaos and one heck of a ride.
marriage is something you prepare for but are never prepared for. blending your life with someone else’s is an art that takes a lifetime to learn and tweak and adjust and fall short.
there are very high highs and very low lows and all kinds of moments inbetween that are glorious and everyday and bliss and fear and worry and fun and painful and hard and sweet and passionate and lackluster.
that is what makes marriage so amazing. this willingness on the part of two people to come together. to blend their lives. to take on each other’s mess. to guide and to cherish and to consult and to plan and to question and to cry and to struggle and to laugh and to enjoy and to fall down and to get back up and to improve and to accept and to learn.
the lessons in grace and mercy and love that i have learned over the past ten years are invaluable. unbelievable. they have become a part of me. the picture of the Gospel that i have been given since i walked down that aisle and was pronounced “wife” is altogether incredible. i could never have imagined how it would grow me and change me and teach me and break me.
these past ten years have been hard. so very hard. and wonderful beyond my wildest imagination. there have been four different apartments and one house. six jobs, one lost on election day 2008. countless negative pregnancy tests. three states of residence. one very big move to a place neither of us had ever been before in our lives. three churches. one (furry) addition. one college degree. three big vacations. lots of new friends. many fights and make-ups and more fights and make-ups.
ten years ago, i wasn’t even thinking about where we would be in ten years. i just knew that p and i would be together that day. then the next. and the next. that we would work together to carve out our life by blending two separate lives into one new life.
i have learned and gained so much in the past ten years.
p can sleep anywhere and at any time. he tells the corniest jokes. he sings constantly-usually old hymns or praise and worship songs. he eats salsa with almost anything. he likes to be cuddled and likes to wear cuddly things like big sweatshirts and my sweaters. he has a favorite blanket and will use it even in the summer. he gets stir crazy if he spends too much time inside. he speaks spanglish very well. he likes kindergarten food-peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. he gets very cranky when he’s tired or hungry or stressed out. he thinks jamba juice is the greatest treat ever. he loves to love people. he loves me more than anything. he is a zombie when he watches sports. he is an incredible forgiver and encourager. he is the hardest worker i know. he puts me first almost always. he is an amazing husband. he would be an incredible dad. he is the best man i know.
i am quite a selfish person. i have so much to work on. i have a great capacity for love. i want my own way a lot. i can always get better at putting p first. sometimes i am a terrible wife. sometimes i’m a great wife. i have a capacity for forgiveness and restoration and patience and kindness and gentleness that i did not have before. i fail time and again. i have lots of issues. i have grown a lot. i have so far to go. i have no idea why p puts up with me, but i am thankful every day that he does.
marriage is so hard. so worth it. and so hard. it is the hardest thing i have ever done in my life. it is so good though. it is amazing and has caused me to grow in ways i could not imagine. it is a lot of work. at times it feels effortless. other times it feels like we are barely holding on by the skin of our teeth. it is beautiful. it is wonderful. it is heartbreaking. it is the most incredible relationship that i have ever been a part of. the weirdest and most complicated as well. it is an incredible picture of the Gospel and how Jesus loves His church-in a way unparalleled by any other relationship in my life.
i continue to be stretched and grown. i continue to learn. i will continue to learn. i chose paul ten years ago and i choose him over and over again. day after day. on the easy days and on the hard days. on the fun days and the mundane days. for some reason, he chose and chooses me too. we work this thing together and only by and through the grace of God. we keep confessing and apologizing. we keep forgiving. we keep loving. we keep praying. we keep holding on. we keep going.
one foot in front of the other. one step at a time. slow and steady wins the race. and all of these are true in marriage. it is a continual evolution and redemption and changing. it is a molding and a growing and a living. it is a treasure and a curse and delightful and difficult.
i really don’t have much advice for those entering relationships or getting married. it will be hard. sometimes very hard. it will challenge you and there will be times when giving up would be so easy and feel so wonderful. it is a burden and a blessing at the exact same time. it is hard, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or a lunatic living in their own fantasy world.
it is also so very worth it. it will bring you the most incredible conversations and moments and memories full of joy and laughter and life and love. it will change you and shape you and grow you. it will put a spotlight on your own sin and shortcomings and failures in ways that would be very difficult to see on your own.
it is sometimes a mirror, sometimes a haven, sometimes a battleground, sometimes a pile of rubble that has to be rebuilt, sometimes a sturdy house firmly planted on solid rock, sometimes a cozy warm blanket you can snuggle down into and sometimes a field full of landmines.
your spouse can never fulfill you-will never be enough. that place is reserved only and always for God and Him alone. God alone is more than enough. He can fill you and fulfill you utterly and completely. your spouse can never do that for you. ever. you will try to put them in that place. time and time again. even after ten years. and you will have to constantly realign your spirit and mind and heart with the truth that your spouse is not God and will fail and will never be enough. that is as it should be. it’s an amazing example of our own weakness individually and how we must constantly learn and relearn and relearn again, to lean on the Solid Rock. only and always on Him.
sometimes, marriage isn’t going to feel like it’s worth it. you will feel like giving up is the best or the only option. you will feel tired and worn down, maybe betrayed or brokenhearted. you will not want to choose your spouse. you will want to choose the way out. sometimes, there is just cause for wanting out. i would never ever judge someone who leaves an abusive relationship or an unfaithful spouse or someone whose spouse left them. there are a wawillion circumstances that are unique to every marriage and sometimes getting out is the correct choice. that said, i am always, always, always for restoration.
i don’t mean an abuser saying “sorry baby, i’ll never do it again” and the abused going right back to the same situation they left. that is never true restoration. that is something altogether different.
i mean true and real and strong restoration. true repentance and a true changing of ways. a true and real and strong remorse. a true, and real, and strong demonstration of that repentance and remorse. a real effort from both parties to stick with it. to make it work. to keep on going and growing. to keep on bettering themselves individually as well as one. to do the very hard and very real and very heartshaking work of getting to a place of true forgiveness and a marriage more solid than when they began. to take on the very challenging task of seeing their spouse and their marriage as worth it and something that can be restored and redeemed.
i am all for marriage. i love marriage and i love to see a marriage for what it is. all tattered and worn out in places. full of holes and threadbare spaces. the golden threads and the missing threads and the beautiful patterns and everything good and bad and beautiful and ugly all woven together into an amazing work of art. a work of art that wouldn’t work without the hard and the amazing and the tears and the laughter and the blood, sweat, and tears all mingling together.
these past ten years have woven quite the tapestry so far. the next ten will add more good and more bad. more laughter and more tears. more happy and more sad. more hard and more delight. and it will be worth it and i will look back on this very day. this ten year mark. this infancy of marriage still. i will look back and be amazed at how God’s grace worked and spun and grew and molded. i will wonder how they could go by so quickly and have taken so long. i will marvel at the fact that we made it another ten years through everything that we had to face. and i will rejoice that i got to share those years with p and that we made it and will continue to make it.ten years. amazing.