Today is our 19th anniversary. As I posted this picture on Facebook, I knew my phone would be beeping all day with updates and well wishes from friends near and far. I appreciate all of the people who are taking the time to acknowledge our 19 year accomplishment, especially those who have had a hand in helping us grow together over the years. There are a few comments in particular that touched me in the deep places in my heart, and as I’m in bed sick today with my 2nd major sinus infection of the year, and Benny is in Boulder for our weekly SEVENS meal, I have some time for introspection.
The first person to wish us Happy Anniversary was a young woman who is a former youth group member of ours. It’s been 10 years since we were her youth ministers, but she is still a regular part of our lives. She’s been close enough to us to see past the shiny happy stuff and witnessed our ugly sides plenty of times, but she told me once that our marriage has made a difference to her. Like many of us, she struggled through her parent’s divorce and a few rocky relationships of her own. I like to think that watching us struggle and get back up to press on again gives her hope and a reason to believe that she too will someday be celebrating 19 years.
One of my friends asked where she could find a man like Benny. lol I always laugh when people tell me how lucky I am to have him. Why? Because I know it’s true. Benny was not at all what I was looking for in a mate (I was thinking more about shallow things then), but he is everything that I needed and am now so grateful I have. We are opposites in so many ways, but we share the same heart for the Lord, and for people. I could have missed out on all that he is, but I didn’t. He chose me. I chose him back. As for others like him? They’re out there. I’ve met some of them. Strong, passionate, committed, loving, creative types.
Another friend said that marriage just keeps getting better and better. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around that when I was younger. What could be better than the tingling, giggly, burning flames of young love? I get it now. When you’ve been married for a long time and you continually pursue each other and feed the marriage, then the fear and uncertainty of being newly married wears off. You settle into a comfortable place. Don’t mistake the word comfortable for the word lazy. Marriage is work, and it is choosing over and over to keep going even when it’s challenging to do so, but there’s a peace that accompanies years of marriage. The commitment isn’t any more cemented than the day you stood up in front of friends and family and declared it, but it has been tested and tried and you know it’s strength better than you did all those years before. It transforms the tingling, giggly, burning into something…well…more heart-swelling, deep, and steady. It’s nice. I like it.
Every May 5th seems like a milestone to me. I’m reminded of our first few rocky years and the day we decided (out loud) that we were going to stay together rather than give up. We decided to fight for a great marriage instead of sinking into the ugliness of where we were at the time. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. As I said in the last post, I love sharing my engagement story, but that was an event. My marriage story is still unfolding and it is shared daily with everyone around me who is paying attention, especially the 4 children growing up in our home. We want a marriage that honors each other and blesses those around us. Our marriage tells the story of forgiveness, commitment, friendship, perseverance, and laughter, lots of laughter. What about you?
Does your anniversary seem like a milestone? Does your marriage honor of your mate and bless those around you? How are you sharing your marriage story?