We are celebrating our anniversary today. 18 years. Not a 20 or 25 but in the grand scheme of all the vows….every year is a big year. I told my daughters that my husband and I have a 6,570 day streak…not Snapchat but face to face (sometimes back to back) real life streak.
I remember when I first became engaged. My best friend and mentor looked at me and said, “I am so excited for you but when you come off of cloud 29…..marriage is hard.” Four months after the wedding, I was in her classroom crying because he did not want to eat cereal for dinner and did not want me staying until 8 o’clock in my classroom.
I am thankful for many women that have mentored me to become the woman and wife that I am today. It has been a very long journey. I remember someone saying, “If you have been married 20 years and have not wanted a divorce (but not acted on it) at least three times, have you even been married?” I chuckle but let’s be honest and real. Marriage is hard.
We come together to become one and vow to love one another for forever. You stand in front of each other and repeat the vows:
I will love you, comfort you, honor and keep you in sickness and in health; for richer and poorer, and, forsaking all others as long as we both shall live.
Standing there, looking into each other’s eyes, you know that nothing will stand in your way. You grasp hands and head down the aisle. Happily ever after.
Jobs. Long commutes. Spending. Money. Kids. Loss. Hobbies. Pride. Selfishness.
Finding a new normal beyond what you knew on your own.
Kids. Extended family. Pride. Kids’ issues. Jobs. Illness. Stress. Goals. Growth. Lack of Growth.
You realize that all the vows that you thought would be easy are actually really hard. The giddiness, love, excitement, and exhilaration are sometimes replaced with huge decisions about jobs, money, illness, and loss that you never realized that you would have to make.
I do not write this out of despair but wisdom that comes from choosing love on days I wanted to run away. This comes from a place where I have had to humble myself and ask my husband for forgiveness. I have not always been what I said I would be and yet he loved me through it and vice versa. We have learned to say hard and honest things to one another. Sometimes this stings, but the commitment to grow trumps pettiness.
And yes. The love and respect go both ways. I have forgiven, healed, and learned to communicate my hurts and my scars. Each valley took us to a closer level of intimacy that only can be found in a marriage that is held together by two imperfect people and daily grace. Two people that know that they are imperfect and are patient enough to give one another the grace to grow.
I am thankful for a husband that wants me to be better.
I am thankful for a husband that does whatever is necessary for our family.
I am thankful for a husband that forgives, forgives, and forgives.
I am thankful for a husband that does not keep records of wrongs.
I am thankful for a husband that allows me to be me not what he wants me to be.
I am thankful for a husband that is sarcastic and can laugh in the worst of circumstances.
I am thankful for a husband that seeks to understand me when I do not even understand myself.
I am thankful for a husband that loves God.
I am thankful for a husband that says…”Go…do your thing.”
I am thankful for a husband that sits with me in the darkness and holds my hand.
I am thankful for a husband that shows me grace upon grace upon grace.
I am thankful that we laugh and cry together.
I am thankful that I waited for him and he waited for me.
We are just two imperfect people raising two imperfect children in an imperfect world. We are figuring it out day by day. 6,570 days to be exact. I love where we are right now and I love that we fought well to be here. Happy Anniversary John. I love you.