(this passage was read at our wedding… I always found it to be one of my favorite descriptions of Christlike love in Scripture)
Last week I shared a few fun pictures for our 6 month of marriage anniversary. Today, I wanted to share a few serious thoughts about marriage; where we are at; blessings; challenges; and what we’ve learned and are learning!
I think back to our engagement. It was a blur of changes, anxiety, transition, opening our hearts to fully know each other, and eager anticipation. We could not wait to be husband and wife before the Lord! Regardless of my anxiety of what marriage might be like, and possible challenges we might have, I had complete peace about marrying this man, and believed with my full heart he was my soul mate and that the Lord Himself had brought us together. We knew it was of Him and wanted to get married as soon as we could; we wanted to follow His will for our lives and believed that this was honoring to Him.
We almost got married in the winter as to have as short of an engagement as possible, but because I was trying to finish graduate school, we waited until May… 10 months from when he proposed. As much as it was hard to wait, there were blessings in that waiting; we got to know each other so much more during that time and had 5 months of living in close proximity to really get to know each other on a deeper level in every way before entering the union of marriage. I think this time was a gift from the Lord to prepare us for life together.
I remember counting down the days, like a child counts down for Christmas. 235 days, 200 days, 100 days, 50 days!!! It was super exciting when it got to 30 days, and I made Richie a countdown on a dry erase board. It didn’t feel real during that time; but it felt quite exciting. Me; a wife? I still felt like a little girl. Richie and I were in a LD relationship for a few years and had only really been together in close proximity for a few months. Marriage is forever. A part of me would understand the seriousness of this. Yet the other part of me was just so excited to be the wife of my best friend that I didn’t think much of the realities of marriage.
Finally, after waiting for 10 months, one day our wedding day arrived! I was so excited, I think I slept maybe 3 hours the night before, but on that adrenalin high, I still felt so awake. It was like a surreal dream waking up on my wedding day. Getting my makeup done. The whole time, I just had this giddy smile on my face and kept repeating “I’m getting married!”… I will never forget the smile on my husband’s face or the tears in his eyes when he saw me walking down the aisle in my wedding dress. The day was just a blur for both of us, and slightly overwhelming, but so beautiful, special, and like a moment from a fairy tale. We are both quite introverted, and when the wedding was over though, we were actually a bit relieved. I can say that there was no let down, as some brides describe when their wedding day is over. Just pure joy. Especially as we were about to go away for the first time together. Stay the night together for the first time ever; us. alone! And this was all with God’s blessing. We felt like we were going to unwrap the biggest wedding gift of all. After holding it together all day, I started sobbing on the way to the hotel; tears of joy and emotion. We were married; it felt like an incredible dream and my heart was overwhelmed with joy. On our honeymoon, I remember us feeling like we could never feel a negative emotion again; like we would be a 10 on the happiness scale forever. We were on this cloud.
Then we came back to stay at my parents home. The cloud popped somehow quite quickly. Maybe it was exemplified by the fact that while there was not a cloud in the sky from our wedding to the end of our honeymoon, when we were driving back and almost at my parent’s home where we stayed for a few months, it stated to rain. We were and are still happy, but we had to deal with real life stress and transitions. And learn how to live together in real life as husband and wife.
We have gone through a lot together. I’ve had to start doing a lot of growing up, moving away from my parents home, and living independently from my parents for the first time ever. I’m a new professional working at a new job that is my first professional job out of graduate school. We have moved and have set up our home together. We’ve had to work to set up routines together. We’ve had to work on redefining our relationship to my parents, which he felt was too involved before. I’ve had the challenge of balancing time with my husband, with time with myself (which i value especially under times of stress which have been abundant lately), and time with work (that takes alot of time). We’ve basically had to go from 2 individuals who love each other and lived in a long distance relationship and met to have fun; to 2 kids, working to grow up and live adult lives together, holding each other and trusting Jesus to lead us… So we’ve had to deal with a lot, although we are growing through these challenges.
We have never had a fight, because we do not fight. That’s not how we deal with things, as two unaggressive people (we are more the “lets be silent and deal with this later” type). But we have had some nights where we’ve had to really work to communicate with each other about our views, wants, and needs. And that’s hard for us as two people who naturally tend to not deal with things. We’ve had times where we’ve both been like, “this year has been much harder that we’ve thought it would be”. Sometimes, even when you are married to your soulmate and best friend, I’ve learned that it takes going against that selfish nature that seems to rule most of my choices, to put that other person first. It takes work to bless even your most cherished person. We’ve both had moments where each of us have uttered the words “i’m a bad wife”, or “I’m a bad husband”. We both tend to be down on ourselves, but we are learning… Marriage has thrown my selfishness into my own face and has showed me that it’s very much a struggle sometimes, especially when tired or overwhelmed, to put even my favorite person above myself.
As stated above, at our wedding, I had my friend read Phillipians 2: 1-11 about imitating Christ’s humility. I always read that and thought it was the best example of selfless agape love, the kind of love we want to have in our marriage. Being married for several months, that passage is so fitting, and something to meditate on every day.
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
I am so grateful for the gift of being married to my best friend. For all of the challenges of early marriage, we have had just as many days of joy and blessing and bliss. We are learning so much and are thankful to the Lord for bringing us together. I’m excited to see where our journey, hand in hand, leads us!