So today, the big guy and I celebrate 24 years of marriage 👩❤️👨 Yay us! Now, it’s true I make a decent deal of my wedding anniversary every year. It’s definitely got much to do with the way we started out and how we should’ve never lasted. (But, God!) But it’s also because, as time marched on, and we sputtered and ‘bout called it quits more than a few times, this same week, six whole years ago, brought along somewhat of a freight train carrying aboard a real risk of death that nearly made the decision for us 💔 (Again, but God!) And since we were thankfully spared that unspeakable tragedy, I make a deal and thank God this time every year. Publicly. I thank Him for sparing Curtis. I thank Him for doctors and nurses and family and friends during those dreadful days. I thank Him for another chance to look and see His goodness and grace when we didn’t deserve it.
You know, truth is, last year I also wrote something about our story on our anniversary. It was real and honest and I meant every word. And I’m gonna keep it real this year. See, an argument began the day after that last anniversary, which was truthfully only a culmination of arguments in what was one of our hardest years yet, and it pretty much continued well into this year. Things that hadn’t happened in nearly a decade seemed to be happening with regularity: bags packed and lines drawn and words uttered like, “I don’t see how we move on from here.”
Because, there’s this unspoken thing about marriage sometimes. People often have a notion that it should be easy and if you argue or lose faith, there’s something wrong and it should end. And yeah, personal ugliness in the arguing and lack of faith can be very damaging. But, it happens because there are two people building into one life and that can just get HARD. For some, I grant, it can be a cake walk. For others (read: us!), there seems to be no way around hard. As long as each has a voice and is, well, basically breathing, there’s likely gonna be disagreements. Add the health, family, work, emotional, and mental challenges that inevitably get thrown into the mix and there’s really no getting around the hard of any of it. But…
Okay, so see that first picture I included below in this post? That was taken on our first anniversary. It’s our first born trying lemon for the first time. And because our first year married coincided with our first year as parents, we took him with us to celebrate. (It may also have been because we couldn’t afford both steak and a babysitter😉) Anyway, lots of firsts to enjoy that night, but as you see, there’s no photo of us. He was our world and clearly didn’t like lemons.
The second picture is from 15 years ago and that first born actually took it. And while we were floating on a boat at the time it was taken, our marriage was close to sinking, so it’s been hung up in our bathroom for about that long as a reminder of where we come from. I took it down after that argument last November and it still remains in a closet.
The third picture was 10 years ago. It’s framed in our bedroom and is my most favorite ever. I took it down last year after that fight as well, and didn’t put it back for a long while because I felt it was no longer representative of us.
The fourth is what has replaced that 15 year old bathroom photo. Wanna know why? Because I needed a reminder that our peace doesn’t come from recognizing a bad past or hoping for some picture perfect, future life free from discord. Our peace comes from only one place – a Person – and isn’t dependent upon our circumstances, good, bad, or ugly. It isn’t even dependent upon whether we make it to our next anniversary (though I pray we do because I’ve got big plans for 25 years, especially after this year!).
Peace isn’t based on anything circumstantial or created in this life at all, in fact. If nothing else, 2020 should have shown us all this. Life can change in the blink of an eye. So, our internal peace must never be based on external circumstances. Not in marriage. Not in life. Not ever.
Our Peace is found in the Only One Who never changes, Jesus, and He – alone – is the reason it exists. He’s also the reason I write. The reason I celebrate. The reason I parent or friend or daughter, sister, niece, aunt, or even wife. He’s the only reason I live and breathe and as long as I’m doing either, I’m gonna be using both my life and breath to share with others this Peace I’ve found. Through my marriage, especially. Because, again, that should’ve ended long ago, but here we still are, ONLY because Jesus has seen fit to keep it so 💝
And that last picture? Well, that only proves Jesus’ faithfulness all those six years ago, plus a little of the love I have for this man of mine 😍 Now, cheers to us and on to that quarter century mark 🥂 I only pray no fights ensue after we cheers, but if one does, that we make up quickly 😜