Marriage

I wish for other people to have what I have, specifically when it comes to marriage.

I have a husband who helps around the house. He’ll throw in a load of laundry if he needs something washed. And he’ll include my dirties, too!

He loves to cook, so all I have to do is buy the ingredients for the meal. He wants me to come up with the menus and buy the stuff, but he’ll do the cooking. I usually do the cleanup, but he’s done the dishes countless times.

He listens. He often perceives when something is bugging me or bringing me down, and he’ll ask if I’m ok. Then he listens, without trying to fix it or even offering advice. He simply listens, which is often all I need to feel better.

He expresses affection. He used to make a big deal of kissing me in front of the kids as they were growing up (their response? “Ew! Gross!”). He’ll go out of his way to give me a hug. Or he’ll wrap his arms around me if I tell him I need one.

He supports my passions, like facilitating Fresh Hope and volunteering. He wants me to have hobbies. And girl friends. He wants me to be fulfilled and happy.

Things weren’t always this way. After 32 years of marriage, we’ve grown into this. I’ve learned to not assume, and to ask for what I need. He’s learned my moods and body language, and how to respond to them. We’ve both learned to listen more and argue less.

We’re still learning to express ourselves to the other with respect and without angry words. We’re learning to speak in terms of “I feel…” instead of “You make me feel…,” keeping it personal and in first-person. We’re learning to navigate the proper timing for discussions – not after a business trip nor right before bed. We’re learning to laugh together again, like we did when we were dating, before all the stresses of family and life. We’re still learning to talk about the hard things – money, the kids, mental illness.

I don’t write this to make anyone jealous. I write because I see other marriages that are one-sided or lacking love or respect of the other spouse, and it makes me sad. I want them to have more.

I’m left wanting for my friends who don’t have this. I wish everyone could have someone who is a kind, thoughtful, responsive, and supportive spouse, like I do.

My husband loves me as Christ loves the church – sacrificially, generously.

Sure, he has his faults. In all of the above examples, there are times when he doesn’t do. When he assumes I’ll do the laundry, or won’t ask about my mood. Ours is not a perfect marriage; none is. But he tries, and “hits it out of the park” most days.

I feel treasured and valued. I long for that for others.

I hope that we can model what a Christ-centered marriage looks like. I hope we can improve our communication, and our relationship – as a couple – with the Lord. I want even more for our marriage, and am willing to work so it will continue to mature and improve as we grow old together.

And I’ll keep praying for my friends and their marriages, that God will transform them into all they can be.

32 Years and Counting

Today is my – make that “our” – 32nd wedding anniversary. He surprised me by sending a bouquet of roses and baby’s breath. He broadcasted “Happy Anniversary!” over our Google Home – he’s in PA and I’m in VA, but he still wished me a beautiful day.

He’s on the road right now, headed home for the weekend. I have white wine chilling so we can clink our glasses to 32 years of marriage.šŸ„‚

It hasn’t always been easy. There were tough times: the job he lost when the entire department was downsized; my several years of depression, including the lowest pit I’ve ever experienced.

Fun times, too: lots of camping and vacations; laughter around the family dinner table with the kids – at all different ages of their lives; driving the convertible with the top down (that’s a recent fun pastime!) and exploring back country roads (we’ve been doing that since before we were married).

There are some details about our wedding day I remember, and lots of memories are prompted by photos. I remember noticing that the candles next to the Unity Candle weren’t lit, and not hearing a word the pastor said as I worried what we would do (the pastor was prepared with a lighter, and he calmly came over to the candles and lit them so we could proceed with the ceremony). I recall my dress falling off my shoulders as we walked down the aisle together as husband and wife. I remember my uncle rushing away from the reception when an emergency came from down the road – someone had fallen off a low bridge, I think. I remember asking the photographer to take a picture of our rings, our hands together.

Other details are a blur. But the memory of the day itself is warm and full of promise and expectation.

And now, 32 years later, I realize I had no idea what was coming. None of the details match what I imagined that day. How could they? Who knows what the future will bring?

That goes for the next 32 years. Who knows what we’ll experience – what joys and tears and celebrations and struggles?

All I do know is … I’m grateful to God for this wonderful man I married all those years ago. And I look forward to the remaining adventures of our lives together, side by side.