Until this morning you’ve had no free minutes to sit and think about the last thirteen years. Despite the pressure to use special days as a way to share the highlights and paint a perfect picture, you have to admit that year thirteen was in the top three for hardest years in your marriage. Ever the realist. So mamy really hard trials that had to be taken head on. It was hard and humbling and spent mostly in prayer and waiting for the work you and Aarik have put in to start benefiting your family. So, as this day approached, and you’ve been busy fixing leaks, and trying to rearrange your house yet another time to make it feel like seven people can fit here, and dealing with sick babies, you haven’t looked at year thirteen very fondly.
But, then this morning, sitting home with two coughing, yucky nosed little people you could see a little more clearly, the whole picture.
While it’s easy to just look back on the last year, marriage is best viewed as an entire picture. The journey, to date, rather than a mile at a time.
There are some really hard times; miscarriages, job loss, financial issues, extended family trials, losing family members, car trouble, depression, stress, anxiety, leak after leak, stomach bugs, and sleepless nights trying to find solutions to your problems, or your kids’ problems.
All of these things are heavy and can feel like they will break you, or sometimes your marriage. But, when handled together, if equally yoked, they in fact make you stronger. Stronger, together.
At some points in the journey it’s all uphill in mud, and somewhere along the way you look at the person carrying the load beside you and wonder if you even know each other. If you even like each other. You wonder if the other person is pulling as much weight as you; if they care that you’re breaking under the weight of the load you have created, together. They may do things that drive you nuts, or seem thoughtless. Maybe they don’t help when you need it most, or become distant when things are the hardest. Maybe you hate how loudly they eat chips, or how they load the dishwasher.
But, when you get to the top of the mountain you climbed together and look at everything you’ve carried to the top on your backs, you have the sudden realization that you couldn’t have done it by yourself. Or, with anyone else. That maybe God yoked you with someone who carried more of the load and just complained less than you. Maybe they hate the way you eat chips and load the dishwasher, but they hide it better because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, or value peace more than silence and cups on top, only.
As you stand there, looking back, you can catch your breath and see that while climbing that mountain, and the ones before it, you made a lot of beautiful, perfect people and memories that you wouldn’t have had you just been crossing the plains, together. You grew in love with the person you’re with. Not a fleeting, too goo eyed, head over heels thing, but a strong, steady, dependable love. If it had been an easier journey, maybe you wouldn’t have held so tightly to one another. Maybe you would have removed the yoke, because you didn’t really need it.
Turning and looking forward to the rest of your journey and seeing that across the valley there are mountains to be climbed, as far as the eye can see, you can take a moment to realize that you are blessed to have a life that isn’t what you had pictured fifteen or twenty years (and mountains) before. That everything you love, all of your greatest accomplishments, couldn’t exist without this person. And you are so blessed to have been given the gift and privilege to know what it feels like to overflow your home with what is meant to be in a home; love and family. So many people will never know that gift. But you know it, together. And you can throw a bag of chips on top of what you’re already carrying, hide a few more for days you need the quiet, and remember that you’re totally capable of loading the dishwasher, your dang self.
Here’s to thirteen years of learning, building, growing, becoming, forgiving, and loving.
And, thirteen more. And thirteen more.