Twenty years ago...we were young, fresh, and had a lot of hair! We had both grown up waiting for that special person that God had for us. We both wanted to honor Him and follow Him wherever He led. We made a committment to Him and to each other...forever.
Life seemed so simple then. Love seemed so simple. Even with similar backgrounds, the same faith, and no extra relational baggage...marriage and "one-ness" is difficult. Life gets complicated: kids, houses that need constant remodeling, sickness, grief, finances, career transitions...Life! How do any of us make it?
I am pondering today...(and I'm not even using a power tool!)
...of that beautiful, sunny October day when we took our vows, in front of our dear families, and dear friends. How we had planned for that day, and how special it was. Oh, the beautiful fragrance of the gardenias in my bouquet!
...of our parents who gave us our example of what committment means. Nothing fluffy...just plain endurance. In my mom's not-very-poetic words, "There will be days when you don't even like your husband, let alone love him." Love is a choice, not an emotion.
...of the special friends that surrounded us, who knew us from childhood, and still are our go-to confidants.
...of the verse that I framed for a young boyfriend, when he was struggling after college with his career path. A verse that is suitable for our whole lives.
What have I learned in 20 years? Definitely not all I need to learn. There's a verse in Ephesians that has helped me in marriage and in parenting, that I don't always get right. But it's worth having at the forefront of my mind:
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth. Only such a word that is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may bring grace to those who hear." Eph 4:29 I learned it years ago to a song, and it has stuck with me. My mouth is a powerful tool, and I need to be constantly taming it. I want my words to bring grace to those who hear, especially those in my family.
Although the Bible is the only perfect book of wisdom, I have learned quite a bit from these two books:
The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, and Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs.
Reading books helps expand our viewpoints, gives us more tools in the toolbelt. There's room for a little marriage counseling, sometimes, too! Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon. Committment is all about enduring, and choosing to be faithful to each other...for 20 years...and for a lifetime!
Happy 20 year anniversary, Mr. Fix-it!
P.S. Did you notice the black and blue fingernail in the picture above? Little did he know 20 years ago...all the projects this creative woman would throw at him! ;)