Yesterday, Brian and I celebrated our 8th Wedding anniversary.
Wow. 8 whole years. That is high school and college put together. (It's funny how I still judge lengths of time by comparing them to high school and college. I wonder if I will ever grow out of that.)
We went out on a little date to celebrate and had lots of good conversation; both of which are real treats around here these days.
I spent much of my day pondering the many things I appreciate about our relationship and I thought I might as well write about it.
Here it goes:
(Disclaimer: I am going to go ahead and skip the whole 'Im married to my best friend' cliche and just take that one for granted. Also, I am going to intentionally leave out anything that has to do with children. It is very rare these days that our marriage gets much thought or recognition all by itself without any mention of kids. I would like to do that here. )
1. It is hard - yes, my marriage is hard. Like most marriages it has it's good times and it's bad. But the inevitable difficulty that comes with intimately sharing a life with someone serves as a catalyst for all kinds of good stuff. Eventually. If I let it. The fact that marriage is hard reminds me that life is hard, at least sometimes, and that it doesn't do any good to whine or complain or try to run from the inevitable disappointments in our time here on earth. I have learned that tension and conflict are not as scary as they once seemed. There is no need to be ashamed of them and in fact, they are very important parts of growing together with someone else.
2. It changes me - like I said, good stuff often comes from the bad. My marriage is a fire - sometimes it burns but it refines me like nothing else. Lord knows I need refining. My marriage forces me to continually face my flaws and weakness head on and because ignoring them or pretending they are not there would be a great insult to my husband, I am forced to deal with them. And I am better off, for sure.
Never before have I been so aware of areas of my life that need changing and never before have I been as eager for the change to actually occur. I enjoy change and though it proves to be terribly difficult, I enjoy process of working toward healthy change in my life and person.
3. It is unique - there is no other marriage like it. I love that. No use comparing ourselves to other couples out there. They are not us. Brian and I recently revisited our Meyer's-Briggs personality profiles. It is so interesting to think about the many ways that we are different and the same. We are such a unique blend of varying personality trait, interests, desires, fears, etc. Knowing that really causes me to value our marriage for its specialty and appreciate the present state of our union, no matter what's going on.
4. My husband is very humble - One of the most attractive qualities I find in Brian is what I like to call his 'humble contentedness'. It's difficult for me to ascribe either of those two characteristics to myself despite my deep longing for them and he continuously inspires me to work toward them even more. Others may strive to prove themselves, to maintain an image or perception from others, an exhausting pursuit both to live and watch, from which I find such relief in Brian. This relief drew me to him like a magnet in the beginning. It still does. In my marriage I find freedom to be nothing but exactly who I am, ugly though she may be at times. Brian's humility frees him from needing me to be anything else. He needs no trophy. Not in the form of a wife or in any other form for that matter. He does not seek self recognition. He is a great example of how to live as an extrovert who deeply values social connectedness without needing others to validate his self worth. He is content with himself and what he has to offer.
5. My husband is adorable - this embarrasses him greatly, I know. Apparently being adorable is some kind of grave violation of one's manhood. I'm sorry, but it is true. Everyone who knows Brian loves him. He has a way of making people feel comfortable and making people laugh (and laughing with them). His laughter is contagious. His lightheartedness is refreshing. He takes a genuine interest in others and makes you feel important. You can not help but adore him. You know you do.
6. My Marriage is FUN - I married a very fun-loving guy who, as I mentioned, loves to laugh. He loves to remind me that because laughter is the hearts best medicine he is likely going to live longer than me. Sometimes I take myself a little too seriously and make too big a deal out something too small to worry about. (just sometimes) I am often relieved by Brian's 'Hakuna Matatta' approach to life. Even though we have slightly differing views about that constitutes 'fun' in regard to pastimes (i.e shopping, pedicures and having tea vs. hunting, fishing and gaming) we always manage to have a good time. Often times I find myself in need of some good old fashion fun and my marriage is a great place to find it.
7. It gets better by the year - I fear that at first glance this appears corny and cliche. But, what I mean to say is not that marriage is always, in every moment, better than before. Indeed there have been seasons when we have been worse off than ever. There is no telling what life will bring our way that will strain and test and try and even break us. But despite the lowest of lows, we emerge better, stronger, wiser, closer. Only by the grace of God. My marriage is such a vivid example of the working of God's redemption in our lives. If he lets us hit a low, enter the depths of the pit, its only so that He can pick us up and carry us out, so that He will be revealed and known in our lives.
8. My marriage is home - Like a child who thinks of running away or hides under the bed, there are times when I chose not to be fully present in my marriage, thinking that being somewhere else for a while, even just mentally, will provide me some kind of retreat. But no matter how hard I seek I will never know rest, comfort or companionship better than than I do when I'm at home. I love being home. For better or for worse, I am here to stay.