Today I have been pondering my marriage, because today is our 5th year wedding anniversary.
I can’t believe how fast the past 5 years have gone by. Well, it’s been fast with the exception of our first year of marriage. It’s sort of like how I once heard J.D. Greear (a pastor in North Carolina) describe his 14 years of marriage to his wife Veronica, “We’ve had 13 wonderful years of marriage… and one other one.”
Yeah, that was us too, at least from my point of view. The first year was rough, ain’t way around it! I was total stress-case. I freaked out over every little thing. Even though I had lived away from home on several occasions (3 years in nursing school, 3 months overseas, and 1 year at Bible college) I packed up and moved away from all my friends and family, quit a job that I loved, began a new job, left my church, and started married life fresh in a new town just a day or two after our honeymoon. Looking back, it might have been a bit much for even an extroverted person like me. Change is always hard.
I know pulling up roots and replanting in a new town to begin married life is not that uncommon; actually people do it all the time. But that first year I struggled in a major way. I fought controlling tendencies and occasionally struggled depression. I quickly realized that, no matter how hard he tried, my guy could not make me happy. I began to see that the Lord was exposing hidden sin in me that I had been completely unaware of during my single days. Marriage has a way of sanctifying a person like no other humanly event, short of raising children. The Lord was doing a work in me–an excruciatingly painful work–during that first year. There was nothing easy or fun about it.
But something beautiful came out of that hard first year, something that doesn’t come naturally in this fallen life: Grace. God gave me grace for my guy and grace for myself.
I can write these things with ease today because our marriage is really wonderful now. I hate to be away from my guy. He has become my closest friend. He brings equilibrium and stability to our family. He is logical and analytical. He provides for our family without complaint. He searches me out with care when I am tough to read, and he pursues me tirelessly. He makes me laugh, even when I’m grumpy.
In short, our marriage has become a thing of beauty.
Last night as we prayed together, I thanked God for our five years together. If the first one hadn’t been so hard, maybe the remaining four wouldn’t have been so lovely. I am grateful for all five years.
I then prayed over the next 5 years to come. I’m sure there will be hardships and I’m sure we will learn new lessons.
Best of all, I’m sure God will be faithful to bring to completion this good work He’s started in us (Phil. 1:6). And that gives me joy!
Happy anniversary sweetheart, I love you!