Today is our anniversary. Around this moment two years ago I was seeing Kevin in our wedding clothes for the first time. We wiped tears and laughed in relief. We were finally together. We could forget the formalities and magnitude of ceremony. For a moment it was just us. The two of us. Well...sort of just the two of us. We had an audience in the upstairs windows...
Our wedding was definitely not perfect. It didn't 'go off without a hitch' (or whatever that phrase is). But the mishaps and complications didn't matter that day. We knew that was the day we would be forming a covenant. We would be uniting under one name. We would be leaving our previous single lives as parts of separate families and creating a new family. Something mythical and ancient and holy was happening that day and we were at its center.
Many people told us the first two years of marriage were the hardest years they had ever known. Many people told us marriage was sad and most ended badly. Many people told us we were too young to get married, that our marriage wouldn't last. Many people joked that marriage was only for people who loved to torture themselves and that the whole 'til death do us part' line was to be taken literally (in that you'll want to kill your spouse very soon and you would be justified because, haha, we all hate our spouses).
I won't veil the truth for those of you who are about to be married: being married isn't easy. It isn't something that you do because you want to be happy. It isn't something that you do so solve a problem (HA!). It isn't something you do to make someone else happy. It isn't even something that you do if you just really really love someone.
Marriage is tough. It requires a bond that's stronger than 'we have so much in common and we make each other so happy'. It's a 24 hour, 7 days a week bootcamp on relationships. It's a commitment that must hold through times of frustration and anger and selfishness. It's saying 'even though there may be days that I don't feel that loving happiness toward you, I still will choose to honor you and prefer you over myself'. It's not for the faint of heart and it's definitely not a joke.
Marriage is also wonderful. To borrow my friend Angie Thompson's words,
"We don't complete each other, I'm not lost without him.
We choose to love each other every day. It isn't a compulsion, it's a decision. It isn't slavery, it's choice, and it's freedom. As a man, [he] is empowering to me as a woman. He pushes me to have vision, and go after my life with fury and intention."
That's the truth, people. Godly, Jesus centered marriage is friendship. It's two individuals being themselves and pushing each other forward. Kevin inspires me to do better work. We each have proficiencies and deficiencies, and we take turns filling each other up with knowledge and passion and inspiration.
He's my best friend, my secret keeper, my laugh inducer, my teacher, my listener, my encourager, and my lover. He knows me best and still loves me. He's put up with my selfishness, my laziness, my sickness, my insane diet, my forcing him to drink juiced vegetables, my insane interests, my anxieties, and my crazy hair.
As we celebrated two years this weekend by (because we're ridiculously poor right now) going to a museum, walking through a market, hanging out in the only American pub with actual Craft Beer, biking, going to the beach with our awesome new friends, drinking tea in cafes, watching Downton Abby, and making dinner at home together, I was reminded again just how fortunate I am to have married this guy. He makes having zero money and living far from family and friends actually enjoyable.
So here's to you, lover. I'm so thankful to have you to lean on and laugh with. I'm hopeful for 70 more years with you.