Friday, December 07, 2012

13 and counting...

Monday will be my 13th wedding anniversary... actually... eloping anniversary.  Our "wedding" anniversary is February 26... however, we slipped away for the romantic "private" ceremony on December 10th.

In a world where most marriages fail, it is pretty cool to get to THIRTEEN.  As I think about those years, it doesn't look like many of the "images" or "ideas" that most little girls sit and dream about.  Yet... could it be something so much better?

As I mentioned, our marriage started with an eloping.  In our minds, it would be our special date together... something we would share.  We had dated over 7 years and had just gotten back together after a break up... the only break up we had during that time.

I was 26 years old and I felt it would be fun... romantic... intimate.  My mom would later find out and it became the source of such a trail of pain that to this day it has "tainted" my "wedding" memories.  She/they felt we had lied and were deceiving people and really saw it from an angle I had never even considered.  I was heart broken it caused her so much pain and would resent my groom for having suggested it for years.  Sad.

As we stood in the office at the courthouse, there was a tinge of sadness that hung in the air.  We had no friends with us and it was...well... just this office with a stranger (the official... not my groom!).  As we waited for the official to come into the room, I looked back behind us and noticed a sticker on his bulletin board.  It read, "Sh-- happens."  My heart sank.  It hit hard.  Here I was, on my wedding day eloping day, and THAT is the decoration... the word of the day... the theme???  Really??? LOL  Too bad I wasn't a blogger then, I would have caught that baby at a great angle and come up with a great post for sure!

But you know, even though I prefer, "CRAP happens," it is... oddly... very true.  And it is a truth that is not spoken of often enough to young couples.

So here it goes: To all young couples who are thinking about walking down the isle or have already walked down the isle... put your listening ears on and take notes... "CRAP HAPPENS."  Can't you just see that on wedding napkins and handmade fabric banners!?

If more couples really understood that, I think more marriages would make it.  I think expectations might become a little more realistic and the patience... strength... and faith needed to ride out some bumps in the road might become greater than the need to always be happy.

One of the greatest lines I have read about marriage is from one of my favorite books, "Sacred Marriage," by Gary Thomas.  He says so simply and yet profoundly, "Marriage was not created to make you happy." 

Chew on that for a moment.  We live in a society that rides on waves of happiness... jumping from one fix to the next.  If it makes you happy... do it.  If it makes you unhappy, don't do it.  If he/she makes you happy, keep him/her.  If he/she doesn't make you happy, leave him/her and try again... and again... and again... and... well... you get the picture all too well.

Marriage actually sanctifies us.  It rubs against us and causes our sin, selfishness, flesh, and weaknesses to be uncovered... exposed.  It calls for constant forgiveness, constant serving, constant grace, constant effort, constant examination and constant attention.  There are often not quick fixes.  There are often bumps that turn into gaping pot holes.  And then there are times of smooth sailing where the wind blows in your hair and the breeze kisses your cheeks and you feel like your feet are not touching the ground.  Journal those!  You will need to come back to them.

And then there are times when you look at your spouse and you are STRUCK deep with the knowledge of the storms you have braved through... been beaten in... and delivered from.  And there is a love there that is solid, glued, reinforced, never taken for granted, and cherished.  It is the blessing.  It is the intimacy and holiness of marriage.

Too many times, people can see pictures like this and think.. "Ohhh, they are so cute.  They must have it all together and have no issues.  If only..."  Truth is, there is a lot of joy, smiles, tears, pains, fights, ugliness, and beauty behind this picture.  Realness.  Life.  The beauty and the mess of it... or crap of it.

So I want to say to the ones who want marriage, who are about to enter marriage, who have just entered marriage, or who think they want to leave their marriage... THERE ARE GOOD TIMES AND BAD TIMES.  NEVER ONLY GOOD.  EVER. 

I have shared this before but it is worth sharing again... I once met an old lady who was about to celebrate her 50 something-ish anniversary.  I asked her, "What is one secret you would share with me about a lasting marriage?" She replied, "You stay in the good times ANDDD the bad times.  Sometimes you get a year of good, followed by a year of bad, followed by three years of good, followed by two years of bad, followed by..."  It stuck with me.  The good and the bad often last more than a day... or two.  But you put on your mud boots, you wade through the crap, and rejoice on the other side.

And I want to say to my husband... THANK YOU.  Thank you for loving me when I am drowning in my mess... when I am struggling with my own sin... my own wounds... my own failures.  Thank you for loving me when I am not very lovable.  Thank you for forgiveness and patience and grace and a constant unfailing and unconditional love.  It blows me away often.  It reflects the Father's love for me and I so often have a hard time receiving it from feeling unworthy... and you offer it anyway.

LOOK at what God has done with our life... our good and our bad.  Just look at this... and so much more not captured here.  It is... really... in the midst of the crap and the mess and the bumps...



  1. Love this! You're a great writer...I think I vaguely expected that marriage would be hard at times, but I don't think I quite grasped the depth of the hardness...I think I just thought, "Oh, we'll just talk about our problems and it will be fine..." Right.

    I also love Sacred Marriage...such a great book to read to get your mindset about marriage all straightened out.

    1. I am totally cracking up that I have been following your tweets and didn't know it was you! LOVE that a similar heart has brought us together like that! And I totally love your blog... especially the page where you explain why you started it! I owe you a great big hug and I'll be in Winchester at the end of the month! I, too, had NO idea how hard it would be. But also how intimate. When you walk through, crawl through, get drug through storms together... there is the COOLEST intimacy on the other side... another level of "knowing" and "loving." The prize for obedience! In my quest to be real and honest... every girl should know... when you buy the dress... get some great looking mud boots! You are gonna need them... more often than you would like!

    2. So you didn't know either that we had a connection? That is funny...I don't even know how I ended up following you on Twitter (which I'm terrible at) but after you tweeted me back the other day, it finally clicked that I knew who you were! Following your blog now too. :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!