I smile because today marks five years since our tiny backyard wedding ceremony. It was a wedding planned in seven short weeks, as Dad was diagnosed with ALS and was rapidly losing his ability to walk or even speak.
Oh, the emotions leading up to that day! But the best advice that kept me calm was that no matter what happened, if colors didn’t match, or if anything would go wrong, at the end of the day what mattered was that I was marrying the man I believed God was preparing me for.
And preparing me He was! Thankful for all the growth and realizations of failed relationships and all the prior heartache, because almost every bit of it helped me in the direction I was going.
Every hardship or heartache is a preparation for what we prayed for, what we deep down desire and can’t yet handle it, and it wasn’t about to come at all simply. So if you are single and still waiting for your partner for life, be willing to work through all that past heartache. It will help you become a better spouse, a better friend, and a better parent.
Although we have been making steps to be more simple and even dare to say ‘minimalistic’, those words don’t fare well for relationships. We love adapting more and more to that lifestyle, but it takes work to learn to be simple and minimal, just like our marriage.
We both have our rough edges, but soft hearts with God’s tough love has been helping us become smoother, more molded for one another.
We are far from perfect, as perfectionism isn’t something worth striving for, but God’s grace is something worth living for. I see that more and more in our marriage!
There was anger, resentment, and deep depression for our first three years trying to figure it all out. By our third year, we finally committed to healing and strengthening our conversation through marriage coaching and not about who was right.
That coaching helped us to slow down, connect, and truly hear each other. That may sound easy, but it was emotionally grueling and exhausting like trying to put the square pegs in circle holes, but while underwater for both of us. But it was absolutely worth it.
There were times we felt like we were drowning and couldn’t hear anything the other was saying, and everything we said wasn’t being understood at all.
But we learned to first listen and seek to understand before demanding or expecting to be understood. Maybe more of the world needs that like our marriage needs it everyday.
Seek to understand before expecting to be understood. Through seeking to understand, we became understood, and when we didn’t quite get it, there was grace. None of it was supposed to be easy, but grace is.
We worked hard to get on the same page, to learn how to communicate, learn how to listen, and learn that no matter what we were safe with each other as we tried to communicate.
Marriage kind of reminds me of ironing. I make sure that the clothes I buy never needs ironing, and the dryer is good enough. But unfortunately, marriage always has wrinkles to smooth out, and wrinkles to love and accept all at the same time.
It’s only been five years and we have already come a long way and honestly excited for more adventures to come. I’m grateful I married a man willing to love as we learn to iron, and grace for when we don’t. A man that promised me unconditional love, and working on our marriage with coaches, understanding, and grace.
A dear friend once told me that we are to help our spouse get to heaven. Not by dieing sooner, but by slowing down to listen, seeking to understand, walking in grace for one another, and speaking life daily. We are helping one another better for heaven, this world, and for each other.
So Babe, I know you are private, and I kinda sorta wear my heart on my sleeve, so I hope I didn’t share too much. I hope through this others may be encouraged in their marriages and that you can feel how much God worked in ours making something really sweet into something really strong, just like I like my Long Island Ice Tea’s.
It takes a real man to work together like you do with me. Thank you for seeking to understand me, I know I have something really rare to have you. Thank you for wanting God with me, choosing to love me, and for the grace when the wrinkles aren’t always perfectly smooth. So much in five years, and here’s to fifty-five more!
Happy Fifth Anniversary!