Today we celebrate 10 years of marriage together. And not just 3 years here and four years there and another 3 years somewhere else. 10 consecutive years of marriage. It feels like something. If I ran into a random somebody and they told me that they were celebrating 10 years of marriage, I would agree that that’s not nothing. It’s something.
Of course, there are many who have been married far longer than us, and so I don’t want to make it sound like 10 years is the apex of marital wisdom and fulfillment. I get that, Lord willing, we have a long way to go. But at the same time it seems that as the average marriage in the United States is 8 years, I not only have something to celebrate but surely I can think of something wise to say. Surely, I say, so as to stall a little.
It seems to me that there is a difference between knowing about marriage in general and knowing about being married. In the first respect, no one can add to the timeless truths staring us in the face from the pages of Scripture and witnessed by the very nature within us. We started this believing that marriage is for life and that God has designed marriage to work a certain way. We’ve grown into some things together, but I don’t know that any of those things were as much a surprise as they were expected.
But you surprise me. I know you better than you know yourself, but you still surprise me. Your love doesn’t get old. Even on the days I wake up feeling my age, you make me feel young. Young with the youth of love, because love is always old and young at the same time. Love is omniscient and also blind, naive, and defenseless. I remember looking at you after we had been married for three short days and wondering what wild revelry of grace would compel God to order the cosmos so that mine would become your name. I haven’t figured that one out yet.
If there is something I have learned, it has something to do with how we are helping each other become. There’s an old trope that women marry men hoping that they will change and men marry women hoping they won’t! Whether that’s true or not doesn’t really matter because we all do change. We are all becoming. And all sorts of things go into what we will become, but the person who shares my breakfast table, my bed, my pain, my joys, and my children is doubtless a key factor in who I am becoming. Not responsible, mind you, but necessarily influential.
There are a bunch of fools running around wanting everything for free. They want sex without any kind of commitment and they want a meaningful relationships without any kind of limitation. But you get what you pay for, and our marriage has come with a cost. There have been long nights at hospitals and long days of parenting boisterous children. We have given up things we want to do so that we can do the things that we need to do. And because we paid the price we value what we have. It’s not a replaceable thing, is it, this life we are building together?
Over the last 10 years I watched you become the person you are today. I watched you become a wife to your husband and a mother to my children. I watch you incarnate the wisdom of a 1000 generations of Eve’s daughters. In one day you do more substantive things that 1000 ninny-headed feminists do in a lifetime. In that way we are growing apart, because I am inevitably sliding deeper into the settled pattern of my fathers and you are walking in the ways of your mothers. But unlike the Ents and their wives, this will not keep us apart.
What’s so strange about our world is that it trumpets the goodness of difference and somehow manages to blend everything into a colorless, misshapen lump like a box of crayons left out in the sun. But this difference of ours, this masculinity and femininity, is only accentuated by our life together. To become like you in this matter would rob me of the vista I see from afar, perched on the bluffs where sons turn into fathers and are buried as grandfathers.
So here we are, helping each other become the persons we will be on our, Lord willing, 20th anniversary. It’s a big job, you know, helping you grow the right way. I assume you think it’s a pretty big job helping me grow the right way! Even if the three little creatures who share our gene pool didn’t drain our energy every day, we’d still have to take care of each other. And that’s a job worth doing well.
I love you, babe. Thanks for living life together with me.
3 thoughts on “To the Love of My Life on our 10th Wedding Anniversary”
Nathan and Katie, There is water running down my face that I tried to fight… I’m not sentimental. But as Stephen and I approach 30 years in a few weeks, I must say, I agree deeply that the cost of marriage is much higher than I first realized, but it is also of infinitely more value than I first realized. Praise to our all-wise God for His design and His grace. It is truly awe-striking that I have great privilege of being the ONLY one who can do for my husband what God designed in marriage. I recently complained that I feel purposeless during this quarantine… my kids are grown (mostly), the church work routine is gone… I need a job!, I said. Thanks for the reminder that I have a job and nobody else has the privilege or right to do it but me. That’s kind of exciting! Congratulations! Happy Anniversary! -Melissa
So glad this resonates with you, and so glad for your friendship and example. 30 years coming up…what a blessing!
Don’t think I can add anymore to whats been said.