Marriage on My Mind.
(One of my favorite Engagement Photo's. Just the beginning, shiny and new)
Many people I know and love are getting or are newly married. Many people I know and love are ending marriages. My heart is excited and sad thinking about marriage these days. I can only speak about my own marriage, but these past eight years as a wife have brought me to a place of wanting to talk, wanting to share, wanting to encourage and hope.
Phil is a wonderful husband. I am happy to be his wife. I am happy to see his face across from our king size bed (we’ve progressed from a full to a queen to a king). He is strong and present and wants to follow Jesus with open hands. He loves our children by making them the best homemade popcorn, teaching them to garden, and doing crazy dances just because it’s fun. Phil changes the oil in our cars and buys flowers to have around the house just because. He loves candles and Jimmy Eat World. Sounds like quite a steal huh!
The gift that I have in Phil comes with the realization that we work HARD to be married. Our bests come out at the same time maybe once a week. Our past is spattered with misunderstandings and sleepless nights. Our disagreements are about loneliness, hurt feelings, and fighting for a piece of ourselves without the other. We look ugly sometimes and we forget each other. The temptation to call it quits has shown itself at times and not because we load the dishwasher or fold our underwear differently, but because we’ve broken each others hearts.
But here we lovingly stand because of God’s great presence. I am so thankful that when our flesh is weak God’s Spirit is willing in us to forgive and try again. I don’t know everyone’s story and I don’t know what tips people over the edge to call it quits, but I do know that for Phil and I staying together has been the greatest gift. We aren’t living in a fairy tale and we don’t make life easy for each other all the time, but in moments of clarity I feel more myself, more whole because we’ve worked through some big messes.
The reality for me is that I have the capacity to be selfish and mean. I, just like the next person, am capable of cheating and hurting. I will never be above humanity and neither will Phil, but love and light trump darkness. I also believe seeking help from counselors and wise friends is a lifeline to healthy marriages. None of us can live out healthy marriages alone. We have to be honest about sex and money and fears.
I love snuggling up next to Phil in our backyard hammock, just being with him. Forgetting our past at times, while pushing through it’s wounds at others. I am thankful to keep walking this unmarked road with Phil. I have hope for blossoming lives in marriages around us. God is always interested in redeeming. Always.
(Eight years and two kids later, a bit greasy and unkept, but so much more capable of love. Wisdom gained through pain has become a beautiful friend.)