Marry me, today and everyday
It was one year ago today when I became Mrs. Michael Wright. We danced to the familiar song by Train just after we'd been announced as Mr. & Mrs. The wedding was simple. A small gathering of family and a handful of dear friends on a hot summer day. We stood in the center of our loved ones gathered around us as they shared in our joy. A summer thunderstorm had popped up just before the ceremony but once it was gone it left a rainbow painted across the sky. If anyone needed one more confirmation from God it was there. The presence of the Holy Spirit filled the room.
I love when people ask how we met and we both end up dumbfounded. We laugh about how often our paths must have crossed for years and how we never met before. God wrote our story. He's still authoring new pages and chapters each day. Somehow He saw fit to bring two lives together and work it all out for His good and glory.
On this first anniversary I want to share some things I've learned about a godly marriage.
We aren't perfect.
To say we fit perfectly together is quite a compliment. You must understand we were not "made for each other." We feel completely blessed to be able to compliment each other so well, but we're opposites in many ways. We share common interests BUT we work to stay interested in each other's lives (although I am more than willing to let him have guys night whenever the latest Sci Fi movie hits the theatres). At the end of the day, we are both human, fallen flesh, capable of hurting one another, being selfish, not considering the other's needs and the list could go on. Recognizing our need for grace and forgiveness from God, understanding His merciful hand blessed us with lives redeemed, we must seek to love and forgive each other. There has to be room for grace because heaven knows, I am nowhere near perfect!
God is the center.
If we didn't allow room for God in our lives and our marriage then we would have never ended up together in the first place. Acknowledging His hand in orchestrating our lives causes us to recognize our great need for Him as we live each day. You can't deal with the everyday "stuff" without starting EVERY SINGLE DAY with The Lord. Before we part ways each morning, we go before The Lord together.
I can't even begin to tell you how much honor and integrity it must take for my husband to submit to God by wrapping his arms around me and committing our day to The Lord, even if we had been arguing the night before (gasp, yes, we have had disagreements). There's nothing that can melt a heart of stone like the Spirit of The Lord and thank God He has set me straight so many times when I simply wanted to be indignant. Allowing God to have His way in ME and in our marriage has already proven to make all the difference.
We've both been through life experiences that have taught us to love and appreciate that what we have takes work and commitment. We both understand that every single day is an opportunity to pursue one another - or to grow a part by following one's own selfish dreams. We've seen it, lived it and it causes us to make sure our priorities are in order.
Nothing about our relationship has been conventional. In the past 15 months we got engaged, sold two houses, rented a house, built a house, moved a total of 4 times (combined), became a blended family, sent a 5 year old to Kindergarten (who also changed schools), changed jobs (Carrie) and got a puppy. That doesn't even describe the external factors. (Are we crazy or what?!) I'm not trying to portray some overly difficult life but you know as well as I do that life isn't easy. Neither is love.
Love is a choice. Somedays it's more difficult than others to CHOOSE to love. Yes, even we have days when we don't necessarily like one another or when something (or things) are pressing in on us and making it easy to become distracted. Isolation came easily for both of us. It had become a way of life for him and for me, it was a defense mechanism. We've had to be mindful that when life happens, when it's tough, we need each other. We can't just retreat or put up the walls of separation. We have to tough it out and love through it, together.
Patience is a Virtue.
I cannot admire enough my husband's virtue of patience. He is tender-hearted, a servant, giving and selfless and truly one of the world's most patient people. When I am emotional and chaotic, he is calm and patient. When I am loud and overbearing, he is quiet and patient. When I am difficult and defensive, he is gentle and patient. As much as I want to be the wife whose husband lacks nothing because of her, I must make sure you understand it is the other way around. Proverbs 31:11 is inscribed on the inside of HIS wedding band - but I now understand it is not because that is what I make him, it is who he makes ME. I am learning from his example. The godly qualities that are being lived out in his life are also what God continues to use to teach and grow me. This causes me to recognize that I am still a work in progress. If God has enough patience with me to want to shape and mold me, then I must never falsely believe I have somehow achieved the mark. What I'm learning about becoming virtuous is that it is an active state of pursuit.
Always kiss me goodnight.
You've seen it on pillows, in frames, inscribed on walls. I'm not sure where it came from but my husband will tell you he's heard it from my lips a time or two (or several dozen...or hundred...but who's counting?!) It is more than just a statement, it is a mindset. It is an intentional desire to connect with and to each other one last time before we drift off to sleep. Just like that all important prayer that he is committed to saying each morning before we go our ways to work or wherever the day takes us, making a point to "kiss each other goodnight" is an intentional choice to connect as husband and wife. Pillow talk can be some of the most important time together.
I could go on and on as I keep thinking of things that make a difference in our marriage. Some of these include:
- Date night. Having intentional time for just the two of us to enjoy each other.
- Communication. We make a point to always be in contact with one another but we also talk about almost everything.
- Protecting ourselves and each other. Making sure our communication/interaction with members of the opposite sex is always forthright and respectful so that nothing can be called into question. Whether it's someone from work, an email, text, call, etc. Striving to honor God and each other.
- Loving the little things. He still opens the doors for me. He seeks to serve me. I pack his lunches and make homemade meals. I make sure there's always dessert or chocolate (because he loves chocolate more than any woman I know). Compliment each other. SEEK TO SEE THE GOOD.
Let me say this loud and clear: OUR MARRIAGE IS NOT PERFECT. We are not perfect. You already know I admit this. I'm sharing this because in the past 3 years (let's not even count the past month), I can't even begin to tell you how many women I've sat across and heard some version of "My marriage is in trouble." I've witnessed it and I've experienced it. I sympathize and I also recognize the signs, the cycle, the defenses, the hard-heartedness, the selfishness, the hurt, the emptiness, the loneliness. I GET IT!!!
I've also heard so many versions of "I wish I had what you have." Okay, now you can. You have to work at it. EVERY SINGLE DAY. You have to make that commitment to forgive, love, cherish, honor, connect - even when you don't feel like it!!! Ready for this? Even in the past year there have been days when I didn't feel like it. There were moments of frustration, disappointment, hurt, argument, disagreement, and a host of other hurdles to overcome. I'm not writing this because I think I've figured it out. I'm sharing this because I am constantly working on how to figure it out.
Today and everyday, I choose to marry him. Today and everyday I must choose to love him, honor him, serve him, prioritize God then him over everything else, seek to protect him, choose to kiss him goodnight, forgive him when he's hurt me, ask forgiveness when I've hurt him. Today and everyday.