So, here we are at 19 years of marriage and counting.
Let’s be honest, there were days we never thought we’d make it here.
Marriage isn’t all rainbows and sunshine like the old movies used to tell us, is it?
It’s a lot more like a war zone some days. A war zone where after the battle you find yourselves holding on tighter instead of letting go, even though part of you really, truly, and absolutely wants to let go.
Letting go wouldn’t really help though. Sure, you’d make a stand, make it clear you’ve drawn the line, you’ve had enough and all the pain you’ve caused each other over the years is simply not worth it anymore.But it would all be a lie.The pain is often very much worth it and the idea that you can walk away from someone who has become your best friend as much as they have become your adversary at times is absurd.
Part of your heart will always be with that person.
There are days you will sit across from that person you married, and you will think, “What am I still doing here?” You’ll hurt like you’ve been split open on an operating table and realize this person who said they’d protect you and care for you in sickness and in health is the one who inflicted the wounds and that you inflicted a few back yourself.
You’ll narrow your eyes, study their face, wonder who they are and who you might be if you picked up all your things, signed the papers, and left for good. While you’re narrowing your eyes, you’ll see something beyond the person who is annoying you at that moment, though. You’ll see laughter. You’ll see joyful tears. You’ll see loyalty, support, empathy, and caring that came when the anger had faded when the hurt had subsided, when the doubts threatened to rip it all apart.You’ll see late nights laughing at old movies, shared looks over inside jokes, deep hugs, sweet kisses, holding babies late into the night, moments of being rescued when you deserved to be sacrificed, walks in the park, drives in the night, grief being borne, molds being broken.
You’ll see that marriage is not all rainbows and sunshine but sometimes both seeps in and pushes out the dark; that there will be more sunshine and rainbows than rain and gloom. You’ll see that love is not just about the good moments, but also about the bad. It’s about shattering in a million pieces and picking up the pieces sometimes alone, sometimes together, often with only God to help you find the pieces you lost somewhere along the way.
19 years of marriage is sometimes about being broken but being broken together.It wasn’t always easy, it wasn’t always clean, it wasn’t always a fairy tale and there have been endings that haven’t been happily ever after but there have also been new beginnings full of hope, middles full of laughter, and backstories that will shape future stories for the better, not the worst.
How many times did we want to walk away? How many times should we probably have? How many times, though, did we sit across from each other look up and not see pain or heartache or loss, betrayal or darkness, and instead saw someone who had been our best friend in the midst of, and despite, it all?
We made it.
We fought for it.
We slew dragons and kicked demons in the face.
We stomped the heads of the serpent over and over and we will do it over and over again.
We were broken and rebuilt, broken and rebuilt.
We have wrinkles and gray hair, weight we want to lose, memories we want to forget.
But we made it.
And we’ll do it again and again until God tells us it’s time to come home, we’ve run our race, we’ve done what He called us to do and who he called us to do it with.
Happy 19th anniversary, Warren, and here’s to many more.
(Photo from all those years ago – first year of marriage).