August 11, 2012 was my wedding anniversary. Thirty-nine years married to the same man, well, sort of to the same man. When you have known someone for forty-three years there are lots of changes one goes through over time. The obvious is, of course, aging, which I think we are doing quite nicely. I was thinking today about all the changes we have walked through together. There's a time of singleness in marriage. You know, when it is just the two of you and pretty much you do as you please. All the while cultivating similar interests and learning how to serve each other. Then comes the children of which consumes your life for the next 18 to 21 years. That is where you hang on to each other and snatch away time whenever you can. Still serving and crawling in each other's worlds while you raise these family individuals. Then comes empty nesters. Finally, taking a deep breath and being able to gaze into each others eyes without hearing your name called or keeping an eye on that one child who cannot be remote controlled. Yes, we have walked through a lot of changes in our marriage. I was thinking about all the physical changes as well. The thin years, the heavy years, the in between weight years, the natural hair, the dyed hair, the thinning hair and the no hair. And then the emotional life of it all.
Yes, lots and lots of changes, however, one thing has been steady and unchanging all these years.....God's ever present hand in our lives.
By all accounts I am a needy woman. I'm pretty high maintenance at times. So I am so thankful the Lord gave me a husband who understands the needs of this needy woman. So many times when he would rather be relaxing watching the Colts play on TV he sits with me in our gathering room listening to my yet 100th view on something. He has encouraged me to run when I would rather walk, climb when I would rather sit down and to strive for dreams I never thought possible for this city girl. We have traveled to places I had only read about. He has held me when I cried because someone rejected me or hurt my feelings. He has been patient with me in my anger and washed Scripture over me in my despair. We share the same sense of humor so it is always Ricky and Lucy at our house. I love those funny moments when we look at each other and break out in laughter. He has had to drag me into submission and I have had to learn to pray instead of pout.
A humble man who derives no pleasure from hearing his own name. Over ten years ago he walked away from a high powered corporate job to start a business he wasn't sure would fly past a year. We held hands and took the first leap of faith. It turned out well. I have watched as this humble, servant leader could have much, much more and I have so loved hearing him say, "we could, but I believe we won't". He has ruled our family with wisdom and much love.....giving at a cost to himself. Encouraging his family to let the Lord be our defender, encourager and our first love. However, it would be a huge mistake for anyone to mistake this servant leader for weak. He runs a successful business and is a strong man of faith.
These last years have seen us through grief at the loss of our parents, two nieces and some wonderful friends. Some old dreams have been replaced with new ones. We have had to take hard stands on what we believe. Loved family members through sin and repentance and rejoiced with adding new members to our "gang" of a family. We have learned some Spanish and French wowing each other with our somewhat broken language skills.
At times I have had to hold that steady hand so tightly out of fear of the future and at other times I have prayed for wisdom to speak wise counsel to my husband's ears. We have watched with sadness as our friends marriages have dissolved and we have rejoiced as we have seen marriages repaired and thrive. Knowing that our marriage is not perfect and we are humans who make mistakes and fall into sin as well, we rejoice in Jesus.
Thank you for allowing me to honor my husband today. Sorry we don't know the ten ways to keep a marriage safe, strong, etc. No antidotes for keeping love alive. However, there is one thing I do know that I wasn't created to be his "cheerleader" and he wasn't created to be my provider. We were created to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. When that is in place the rest easily follows. No pressure on him and no failure for me. (Frankly what I have seen and heard these last few years coming from "experts" is just too cute and in the "box" to be real.) I am not always his cheerleader and he isn't always my prince charming. We have loved, lived, argued, walked, sought the Lord, and believed passionately for 39 years. I know most of his faults and on any given day don't hesitate to let him know. He is not perfect and that works well because.....NEITHER AM I.
Happy Anniversary to the Love of my imperfect life! "Come grow old with me the best is yet to be!"
(I know this may sound a little "cheesey" but hey, I like cheese! (throw in some grits and I am a happy girl!)