Saturday, March 17, 2018

Eleven years

Eleven years ago, I married the man for me. Looking back now, I remember very little about our first few years together, aside from a handful of struggles that no newlywed would ever forget. There are times where I wonder, what was it that we wrestled with in the day-to-day, during that season when life seemed simpler?

It appears the size of our challenges grow as each year passes, doesn’t it? We have more responsibility now, more influence, more resources, more offspring who have joined the party. Suddenly more humans are impacted by each choice we make. For us, it’s these three adorable people that he and I created.

But it isn’t just the struggles that have increased in size. Our hearts have grown too. Hindsight reveals just how little we knew each other when we were first wed. We were just babies in love, with hardly a care in the world when we said, “I do.” Now we’ve covered more ground. We’ve seen more sides to each other. We’ve peaked at the dark nooks and the crannies and have tasted the things we’d once kept hidden. Years together will do that to you, revealing the inevitable that can only be kept concealed in the short term. The more surface area exposed, the more space there is to love and embrace one another for all that each of us are. As our struggles grow and change, so does our love for each other.

I’ve spoken into his life and helped certain areas thrive and he’s done the same for me. Pieces of us have shrunk and others have expanded. We’ve changed shape as a unit. It’s this dance that we do, an extra give here and then some take there. Sometimes we are coordinated and sway in rhythm, but oft times, even with years of experience under our belts, we are clumsy and step on each other’s toes.  

When I first envisioned marriage, I thought there would be a lot more uninterrupted, leisurely conversations and a lot less bickering over half-finished projects, who cleaned the toilets last, and whether it makes logical sense to put an area rug under our dining room table. (What, to sop up the milk spills? I’ll let you take a wild guess who stands where on that one). I pictured a lot more walks on the beach together, more romance, and that we would have the energy to pursue each other well without planning three weeks in advance. I assumed our relationship would deepen without effort, that we would grow closer naturally and not further away. I anticipated weekly date nights over weekly evenings spent in therapy. 

No, this place we find ourselves, it doesn’t look the way we imagined. It never does. But do you know what else I never foresaw? The beauty and affirmation that arrives wrapped within the embrace that follows a moment of raw vulnerability. Or the joy the stems from having a built-in best friend. Or the privilege of being my person’s number one cheerleader. The pride that comes along with having an automatic front row seat as I applaud him in his accomplishments. The immeasurable connection experienced when there is physical intimacy. Or the glow I feel, knowing I am absolutely adored. And finally, the security of commitment, of choosing to love one another, faults, shortcomings, failures and all, every single day.

These are the rich, rich gifts I never knew I would receive in marriage. 

Happy 11 years, Graham. To God be the glory! 

May our love grow evermore. 

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posted by kelsie