I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks now. I don’t usually have this much difficulty expressing myself– words have always been my friend. But what do you say about the most wonderful man you know? The man you’ve been married to for ten years?
Ten years ago. Before real jobs, real bills, cell phones, and Facebook. Before any blood, sweat, or tears were poured into this house. Before babies were even a topic of conversation. When all of Michael’s books fit on one bookcase and the only instruments he played consisted of various guitars and a flute.
As our anniversary has gotten closer, I’ve been reflecting on those early days when we dated. I remember how we had all the time in the world to spend together. We would go to parks and sit on a blanket– he with his guitar, me with a book. We would go hiking at Umstead and Raven Rock. I remember lying under a tree looking up at the sky through the leaves and thinking how much like lace they looked. We would talk and talk and talk– about everything. And oh my gracious was he funny. From time to time, I’ll remember something he said back then and it still makes me laugh.
We recently did some pre-marriage counseling for an engaged couple; I loved that experience because it made me reflect on many of the things I’ve learned over the past ten years. There have been so many light bulb moments for me– lessons about grace, forgiveness, my own sin and selfishness. I’ve learned (am still learning, actually) what it means to die to yourself so your person can flourish. I’ve learned to be conservative in what I ask of my husband, because he really will do just about anything for me.
I love that we have our own language of sorts– words and phrases that carry pages and pages worth of meaning, but just to the two of us. I love that we have our own games that don’t make sense to anyone else (complete with scoring and point systems.) I love that we have our own traditions like hiding gifts around the house and playing “Hotter… Colder” instead of actually wrapping gifts.
Our life looks so different than it did ten years ago. In some ways it’s a little harder, but is many, many ways it is better than any life I ever imagined for myself. I will never wrap my head around why Michael chose me all those years ago. Not that I’m much different now, but man was I mess back then.
Last year, I wrote this for our anniversary and I couldn’t agree more with my past self:
My husband is the most amazing person I know. He’s wise, kind, funny, talented, and incredibly generous. He almost always has a smile on his face, and it’s not because he’s always happy– it’s because he has a joy that goes so deep that even when his days are hard, he can rejoice.
I have learned so much about what it means to love people by watching Michael. He has literally spent years loving people that others have cast aside because they are difficult to love. He’s taught me what it means to be hospitable when an unannounced guest stops by. He’s shown me what it looks like to really listen to another person. I’ve seen him give his time, his money, his energy, his life– everything. He gives it all away.
It makes sense to me that Jesus uses bride/bridegroom as one analogy for how he loves the church– the way Michael has loved me all these years has deeply changed me. And though he loves me well, it’s just a shadow of how Christ loves his church. I’m thankful for the Gospel, for understanding it more deeply, and for seeing it displayed in my husband’s life and in our marriage. I don’t know where we would be without it.