Cheers to a year & trying harder & doing better.

It has been one whole year since he & I stood at opposite ends of the isle, him with a single tissue to soak up the free runners escaping down his cheeks, me trying to hold myself together as my father graced me down the isle, walking me into a new life, new family, new home.

I remember knowing how overwhelmingly right this whole moment was, where he & I became united in life. & I think I gave too much credit to two wedding bands & a nice, shiny ring.

I never anticipated disagreeing on most important things. Finances, parenting, values. I thought the rings would slip on & suddenly every decision would effortlessly be a ‘we think’ kind of thing.

My husband & I are two very different people.

Our being married a year is reason enough for you to believe in Jesus. Not because we don’t love each other, but because differences are still differences with love & fights don’t get hushed because you say ‘wait, remember, we’re inlove’. & babies sometimes come in the first year & it’s okay because God says he’s got enough grace for that, too, but grace doesn’t always silence raging hormones growing another human inside of you. & sometimes babies come three feet tall walking alongside your love & that is okay to because God says he’s got grace for that, too. Because he loves people & wants them to learn to love each other. & deeply.

So our first year has been tears & clinging & silence & leaving & some of it we got right & some of it we got all wrong. & if I were to describe this year to you I would call it an awkward hug. Trying to figure out how to love each other right. & first years are hard. Sometimes not. But I’ll be brave enough to tell you it was hard for us. & that’s okay. Grace. & next year, we’ll do better. & keep doing better. Because marriage is learning how to love better & Jesus is gracing us through it.

& so lately I’ve been thinking about those 10, 15, & 30 year marriages that are ending.

& I keep going back to the lady who I met in TJ Max who told me that the first seven years are the hardest. In my head as she’s saying this & telling me about her daughter & son who are giving up on their marriages while their babe learns to crawl, I can’t help but wonder when marriage stops being hard. When does it become effortless? & I’m thinking the answer to that is in the marriages that are crumbling after decades.

Because maybe those are the lovebirds who believe the lie that after ____ many years of marriage, you can stop trying because it won’t fail. That you’ve dodged all the hardships & this is smooth sailing.

Just as God gave us marriage to give us the realest experience as the church being the bride of Christ, of our relationship to God, I think the be on alert warnings that Paul gives us is just as true for our marriages as it is for our relationship with Jesus in our walk of faith.

Being the church can easily fall into the motions. Its easy to be judgmental over things we don’t know or understand. Its easy to become a pew sitter, uninvolved letting others service you.

& just the same as we are called to take every thought captive, in order that we stay attuned to the spirit, in our marriages God calls us to the same active alertness.

The devil will crouch where he can squeeze, to ruin whatever he can.

If that be your carelessness in your marriage & boundaries in other relationships you keep, so be it. He’s not out for your wellness.

So this is year one & it was hard & so imperfect with some absolutely incredible moments, but the key is to recognize the imperfect & keep going. Keep trying. Keep growing. & every year we’ll learn to love a little better.

It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.

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