In other years I’ve written about why I chose you; how I worked through insecurity and fear; how we processed our independence; how we fought for our covenant; and last year, how our community made our marriage what it is today. All those things are still true and still in process.
Now we are more than married. We co-homeschool. We run a business and ministry together. The little dreams we talked about in years one and two and three are becoming a hard-won reality by the grace of God. We have wrestled for unity in our relationship and won, and we’ve shared that journey openly with others. We’ve tried to be honest about the difficult while honoring the goodness, offering hope for those walking through the hard marriages and joy to those looking forward to the goodness. It’s a hard tension to hold. Everyone wants you to be real – until the reality isn’t pretty enough.
Because gospel-centered, sanctified marriage isn’t always pretty. For people like us – with strong wills and stronger opinions – the beauty is on the other side of tears and talks and sacrifice. Isn’t that how it often goes? We climb the mountain to see the sunrise. We run the marathon to feel the sense of accomplishment. We labor late nights to pass the test and get the job. And in marriage, the beauty and the work walk hand in hand – like us.
We like to tell one side of the story: either the beauty or the work, but not both. Either marriage is all the highlights or all the drudgery. And how do you prepare the ones listening? Do you tell them only the positive? Scare them with the negative? Perhaps we just need more real marriage stories – the stories of the difficult, not in a whining tone of derision but as a testament to what God can do. We are one example: we are what God can do in a perfectly imperfect marriage. We are a testament to his grace.
The life we’ve been called to lead confuses me sometimes. Just when we figure it out there’s something new to navigate. I’m not sure I do it right; I am not sure I’m the right girl for the job (my actual job, not our marriage). But aside from the constant of Christ, the constant I have is you. And eight years in, I am ever more grateful for that.
He guards my heart and time, watchful
as I juggle dishes and manuscripts.
He picks up the child
and switches the laundry,
not too much a man to fold towels,
bravely unthreatened by a wife
made public, visible, in a world not his own.
So he made it his world, too.
Tears come clandestine, the kind that shouldn’t be:
“I should be strong enough to bear this -“
as once again I am unapproved
by the ones I hoped to approve me,
without a word he fills their void.
His is the knock at the office door, the hand
holding coffee, holding me; he is the iron
I am sharpened upon, sparks and fire flying.
We fight, we work, we bend, we try again.
And when it all becomes too much,
he approves what others could not,
strengthens me again to standing,
and I carry on one more day
because of him.
Every year for our wedding anniversary I write a post to commemorate the day. I can’t believe we are eight years in! The past posts are below.
- Year One: Five Things I Learned About Respect in My First Year of Marriage
- Year Two: Marry the Man Who Stays
- Year Three: To the Woman My Husband Should Have Married
- Year Four: What I Lost When I Got Married
- Year Five: Ten Things I Learned in Five Years of Marriage
- Year Six: The Covenant That Kept Us
- Year Seven: It Takes More Than Two to Make a Marriage