April 18, 2004
“…From this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
Ten years ago we exchanged these vows with passion and honesty. I pinch myself that it’s been a decade.
We were so young. Other than full-time jobs we had no real responsibilities. We were rich- rich in love. We shopped and ate out frivolously. Every night was brownie sundaes, ties on the door, not a care in the world.
Back then Instagram and FB didn’t exist. Social media was just on the horizon. Ten bridesmaids and I readied ourselves in my old bedroom before I climbed into a vintage Woody headed for the church. No posts, no sharing, no comments or “liking”- just soaking up wedding day elation.
In a decade a million things have transpired. Ironically, as of recent, one similarity remained the same.
Last Friday was our 10 year anniversary. No pictures were Instagrammed. No posts on FB, perhaps divinely appointed. The week leading up to Easter, I was fasting from social media to intentionally rid my brain of distractions and focus on a Savior that died and rose. And wouldn’t ya know, Good Friday fell on our anniversary, days before ending a social media fast. Confession: I was annoyed. Pictures begged to be posted and shared- it was an epic celebration, one that deserved the applause and congratulatory comments of many. If people didn’t know it was our anniversary, how were they supposed to swoon? Oh wait.
What I didn’t realize until later, this truth:, Deeply sacred are the moments shared only with your spouse, ones the rest of the world aren’t privy to.
Oh these ten years.
One ring circled by another, like that of a tree’s trunk, marriage has defined us deeper. It’s forced us to dig past suntans and sex into stretch marks and faith. It’s looking across the table as boys rattle off Pokemon card names with mouths full of food, and knowing my hubby’s eyes; a silent, private understanding that this is love, this is what marriage is.
Sometimes it’s holding hands and flamy feelings, other days it’s harsh words and exhaustion. It’s talking and re-clarifying to stay on the same team. It’s pointing each other back to Jesus, and speaking truth when the other wants to give up. It’s new zip codes, dancing in the kitchen, designing in the office. It’s compromise, putting ourselves in each others shoes, knowing when to listen and when to speak. It’s another tree ring circle in our marriage vows.
And last Friday it was sitting by the window at our favorite Dana Point restaurant, and experiencing a safety in knowing who sits across from me. It’s exchanging kale quinoa salad bites for his steak, white and red stems clanking as we fall into our familiar rhythm of dreaming and wondering aloud. Walking the beach and getting lost in steep streets, we follow our noses to waffle cones and gelato scoops and people watching.
It is us.
Preserved with private moments unavailable to community on the other end of our phones. Special anniversary hours void of distractions with posting pictures, checking comments, or taking time away from our time. Similar to that of our wedding day, it is about celebrating our marriage then and now, and everything in-between.
Surviving, coming out stronger after ten years of marriage is no small feat.
Year six we hadn’t been so sure. We’d sat on a park bench and unemotionally mumbled, Can we still do this? No one said marriage was easy, but a poor job fit had left my husband defeated and dead. I attempted to cheer him on, two small boys in tow, but carried a resentful, sad heart. A short sale and anxiety attacks don’t look pretty on Instagram, but they have been our reality. Looking back, I’m incredibly thankful. What seemed hopeless then, was really grace disguised, preparing us for this past year, where we clung unswervingly to each other.
I don’t want a white-picket-fence marriage. I’ll admit I like the idea of it, but it comes with too much pressure. I want a grip-each-other-and-cling-to-Jesus-and-ride-this-adventure-together marriage. How I pray that we soak up every experience, the epic and crappy ones, knowing they add bruises, safety, cuts and character to what make up our marriage story, one year, one ring after another.
Night came, and our date ended at home, where life happens real and messy. Just as he did on our wedding day, Bryan took his grandma’s wash basin and washed my feet.
I promised ten years ago, in front of God and family and friends. I promised your dad I would take care of you “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”