Peter and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage today. I woke up a
t around 8 am to the smell of my favourite breakfast – French toast crisped to perfection. Peter informed me that he hadn’t bought me a card, but that my breakfast was my card… As a card-i-ologist, I am just going to go ahead and say that this might just be one of the best cards I have ever received:-). Over breakfast, we reminisced about our wedding day, and we are spending the day relaxing in one another’s company and just enjoying the comfortable togetherness that we have spent the last 13 years building – we agree: there is nothing we would rather do today.
I have shared before that my conviction is that marriage is not for sissies. I have also shared that starting over had its challenges for us and we’ll both tell you that there were times when we thought the doomsayers may have their victory after all and that this would not work. You see, you would be hard-pressed to find two more opposite people. Yet the one who created us knew that this combination would turn out to be exactly what we both needed and by His grace we have begun to see the fruits of what has been a journey with loads of fun, tears and growing for both of us.
I was thinking just now, about how much I appreciate Peter and this season we are in right now. Many of you who know us well, are aware of the journey that led us to our new life in the bush and how the fulfillment of my biggest dream, has come at an enormous cost to my husband. Every day he wrestles with the choice to live in the bush – away from the ocean, and all things familiar. Conversely, I am enjoying the closest thing to heaven – a life of simplicity, unadulterated beauty and the peace and freedom to think, breathe and write to my heart’s content. Suffice to say, that I have never been more sure of my husband’s deep love for me, and that, I believe is what makes this new life even more precious to me.
Marriage is not moonlight (or moonshine) and roses… Roses are over-priced and over-rated, and besides chocolate is a very viable alternative! If you are into moonshine, well that just gives you a headache (which I already have for free). Moonlight… well I have to keep that because from the very beginning of our relationship, Peter and I have always enjoyed sitting together in the light of the moon and in our new life, we get to do that a lot more, beneath a spectacular sky. No, marriage is not these things – it is the commitment to love in the tough times. The choice to pour into the life of someone when there are no immediate benefits for you, and usually when there is a cost (I reckon that is exactly why they slipped the “in sickness and in health, richer or poorer and better or worse” bit in while you still have stars in your eyes and an overload of hormones pulsing through your arteries (or wherever they pulse!)). Marriage is keeping your word and your promises when you really don’t want to and when your partner doesn’t deserve it. It is the courage to mean what you say and do, and say and do what you mean.
Marriage is knowing one person always has your back no matter what. It is knowing that you are loved even when you are misunderstood. Marriage is a mixture of fighting with and fighting for each other. It is second chances and (and sometimes third and fourth one’s too!). It is knowing that when you are tired or sick, someone stronger will watch over you. It is knowing that you don’t always have to talk – you can just be (like the lions in the image). It is reaching out and knowing you will find a hand and snuggling up to someone who will warm you when you feel cold.
Marriage costs more courage than you will ever know you had, and I suspect marriage rewards you with more courage as you persevere. It is hard and it is wonderful. It will break you and if you let it, it will make you. The girls who think the best men are already married are right – because marriage is the fire that forges us into the best versions of ourselves at the cost of someone else’s love, commitment, forgiveness, and sacrifice.
Marriage is similar to a high-return fixed-term investment – you sacrifice a lot, but the ROI is bigger than any other you could ever hope to find. Today, if your marriage is in a winter season, draw courage from this: no season lasts forever and as you choose to love, seeds of tomorrow’s fruit are germinating in the soil of your perseverance. I am not saying there are not times when a marriage is (and should) be over, I am simply saying that after two marriages, I am persuaded that the rewards far out-weigh the costs.