Saturday, March 15, 2014
Today we have been married for 11 years! As I think about what marriage entails and what it looks like now as opposed to 11 years ago, I have some things I'd like to say.
To the young couple, newly married or about to enter into marriage:
I used to feel a little disappointed when older married couples, veterans if you will, would say that the newness would wear off and we wouldn't always be in the young puppy love stage. It was so hard to believe. I thought we would feel "twitter-pated" like the young animals in Bambi forever!
The truth is, those married veterans were right. The giddiness fades and the newness loses it's shininess. Your wedding ring might get some little scratches or nicks in it. You will begin to get wrinkles around your eyes and some gray hairs on your head. Your spouse's lips will become familiar, their hands warm and comforting. Your "I Love You's" will slip into the routine of the day.
But you know what? It doesn't have to be disappointing. There is a steadiness in a tried and true love. It is familiar and safe. It is strong and beautiful. As long as you put hard work into it and fight for it!
Young Lovers, I would say to you, fight. Fight for your marriage. Fight with everything in you to keep it strong and healthy. You will not fully understand what commitment means when you say "I Do" (even though you think you do!) but you will understand what it means 11 years later. Or 20 years later. Or 60 years later.
It means that there will be days where you are sick or tired; there will be days where there isn't enough money to cover the bills or maybe the "extras" ; there will be seasons where you won't have money or babysitters to go on dates; there will be times when you're angry or disappointed with each other; there will be days when you have to make the choice to love. There maybe times when your spouse is depressed and you have to carry the load. There may be seasons where you can't see beyond the day you are struggling through. There will be times when you cry tears of grief together. Or even alone.
There will also be days where your eyes meet and no words are needed to express the love you have for each other. There will be inside jokes that only make the two of you laugh. There will be that warm body to snuggle up to on the cold nights or in the morning that makes it hard to get up. There will be cards with written words of love on special occasions or just because. There will be a smile on your face when you see each other at the end of the day. There will be quiet nights where you snuggle and watch movies and just enjoy each other's presence.
Your very own, custom-made, built-in best friend.
Friends, I know now, 11 years later, what commitment means. And I know what it doesn't mean. I have watched people close to me give up the fight and walk away, not even realizing all that they have lost or given up. Or people who thought their own happiness and desires were more important than the other person's. And they chose themselves over selfless love. It's something we all have to fight against.
I told Ben the other day that one of the most precious gifts we can give our 3 little ones, is a healthy, thriving marriage for them to watch, to learn from and hopefully to want to emulate.
And so, on this day, 11 years after we spoke our solemn vows before our Lord and Savior and wonderful family and friends, I say to you, my dearest Husband,
I promise to spend how many ever years we have left together on this earth fighting for our marriage. I will fight to love you each and every day. To forgive you when you hurt me. To ask for forgiveness when I hurt you. To lift you up when you fall down. To continue to learn to speak words of peace instead of words that hurt. To keep learning how to think of you over myself. To keep falling in love with you over and over again. I promise to learn from our mistakes and to always be fighting for a future. Our future together. Our legacy that we are even now making and will leave behind for Samuel, Zakkai and Eliana.
I promise to stay true to you. To keep making my Lord first in my heart so I can know how to love you better and better with each passing year. I promise to keep laughing with you.
We have so many precious memories together. We are now fighting through one of the hardest times we have ever been through and yet, here we are. We made it through something that causes many marriages to fail, due to the heavy weight of sacrifice. And we are still holding hands and kissing hello and goodbye, saying "I love you" so many times a day and knowing we really mean it. We have proven ourselves best friends o'er and o'er and will continue to every day for the rest of our lives.
I thank God for each day we've had together and the character we've built through the perseverance of fighting through life together. And I pray that He will heal our wounds and be our foundation and help us cling to Him and each other for all the rest of our days.
I love you so very much, Ben. Happy Anniversary.