Last Friday was our tenth anniversary.
Ten. Years. Three thousand six hundred fifty-two days since we said, “I do.”
A lot has changed in those 3,652 days. The last time I wrote one of these blogs, it was just Mary and me—and now it’s Mary and me and two wonderful, incredible kiddos who have turned our world upside down in the best possible way.
I realize our one single decade can barely hold a candle to the marriages some of you have been nurturing for multiple decades (maybe even half a century!), but I still like to think I’ve still learned a thing or two in that time.
Here are another three lessons from 10 awesome years of marriage:
1. You shape your marriage; your marriage shapes you
God was serious when He said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
There’s a give-and-take to marriage that’s hard to explain until you’ve experienced it yourself. The first part is obvious—who you are and the things you do will shape what your marriage becomes. But it’s not a one-way street—your marriage also shapes who you become and the things you’ll do.
But of course, it’s not just you in the equation, is it? It’s you and your spouse. Both of you are contributing to and shaping that shared marriage, and that shared marriage is, in turn, shaping you.
Done right, that’s a beautiful thing. Done wrong, well—God says, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 21:9). (That goes for contention men, too—I’m looking at you, husbands!)
Either way, marriage isn’t a static thing. It’s a wellspring that you both pour yourselves into and drink from. Becoming one flesh is a continual process that has less to do with the wedding night and more to do the days, weeks, months, and years you share together afterward.
I’m blessed to be shaped by what Mary brings to our marriage. Over the last decade, I’ve become more like her, she’s become more like me, and we’ve both benefited from the other’s efforts to become more like God. Are we still our own separate individuals? Absolutely. But we’re also more of each other than we would have ever been on our own.
2. It’s not always awesome; it is always worth it
I didn’t intend for this to become a series of posts when I wrote the first one, but here we are. In every one, I’ve referred to a number of “awesome years of marriage”—and while I stand by that, it probably deserves some clarification:
Not every minute of every hour of marriage is awesome.
There will be bad days. Maybe bad weeks; maybe even bad months.
Sometimes it will be your fault. Sometimes it will be your spouse’s fault. Sometimes it will be both your faults; sometimes it will just be a bad hand that life deals you.
And even when the days aren’t explicitly bad, you’re still going to run into dull days, sad days, exhausting days—all manner of days that don’t fit under the banner of “awesome.”
And that’s okay.
That’s the way this works.
The bad, sad, dull, exhausting days are worth it, because when you add everything together, the end result is still awesome. You work your way through resolving the problems those days present, but the end result is still you and your spouse growing together as a son and daughter of God, seeking closeness with your Creator and with each other. When that’s the case, no amount of bad, sad, or dull takes away from the awesome blessing that marriage is.
3. It’s hard to imagine how things could ever change; it’s hard to remember how things were ever different
It seems absurd to me to say that Mary and I have been married for ten years, but it seems absurd in two different directions. I can’t imagine how it’s possibly been that long, but I also can’t remember what life was like before those ten years started.
I mean, I remember things I did and things I said, I remember important moments of my life before Mary came along, but it all seems so… insignificant. It’s like that moment when Dorothy walks out of her house after the tornado and discovers what life looks like in full color. I remember life before “I do,” but it’s all black-and-white. I just didn’t know the difference at the time.
But by the same token, I can’t imagine what differences the future will bring, either. I couldn’t envision life in full color until I saw it; I can’t envision what’s next until I see it, either. Brad Paisley has a song called “Then,” and it deals with the same idea—that there’s no way to really understand what’s next until you get there:
What I can’t see
Is how I’m ever
Gonna love you more—
But I’ve said that before …
We’ll look back someday
At this moment that we’re in
And I’ll look at you and say
And I thought I loved you then
I loved Mary when we said “I do” ten years ago. But after a decade filled with two moves, two kids, and an incalculable number of ups and downs, challenges faced and overcome, dreams lost and realized—I love her now with a depth and an intensity I couldn’t possibly have comprehended when we started this journey together.
In another ten years, I suspect I’ll say the same thing.
Until next time,