Friday, July 8, 2011

In Ten Years Of Marriage

The end of June marked our ten year wedding anniversary, so we celebrated in a cozy tea bistro on a rainy afternoon....

And on a white sand beach on a rainbow evening.

In ten years of marriage you experience the exhilarating, the frustrating, the ordinary, the exciting, the unexpected, the mundane.  You learn what makes each other tick, what makes each other laugh, what makes each other cry, what makes each other thrive.  You have opportunities to succeed where you disappoint yourself and fall short, then surprise yourself by overcoming circumstances that you were sure would take you out.  You feel the wind in your face on mountaintops, taste the sand of discouragement in valleys, and experience both thrills and terror on the curves along the journey.

If you are wise, you do none of this on your own, but depend daily on God for grace and wisdom for the journey, and choose to be loyal teammates through thick and thin, as well as lovers and friends.

In ten years of marriage we have made countless memories.  We have ridden bikes along the shores of Cape May, the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, the old wooden roller coaster on Coney Island, flown in a helicopter through the splendor of the Grand Canyon, laid on the white beaches of the Caribbean, stood on the top of pyramids in Mexico, kissed in front of the castle at the Magic Kingdom, watched fireworks on the front lawn of the Capitol in D.C., skied down the mountains of Pennsylvania, and more.

We have ridden snow tubes down hills at winter camp with students, white water rafted down the river at summer camp, spent countless hours at youth group, leading worship, making visits, making disciples, lending a hand, working together for the kingdom.

We spent one of our wedding anniversaries on a missions trip in Mexico City; one at summer camp; one at an 80's night at a teen week (I even gave Jimmy a mohawk for that one); and this year's was spent leading music at VBS.  (I know, I doesn't get more romantic than that. ;)

In ten years we have worked lots of hours, paid lots of bills, made tons of meals, done even more dishes, washed load after load of laundry, and day after day done the ordinary that makes a life together work.  We have learned that commitment and faithfulness are not always glamorous and exciting, but they are always rewarding.

We had two babies in 18 months and learned the true meaning of sleep deprivation but also the truest, deepest human love possible.  We have stepped on Lego's, cleaned up goldfish crumbs, changed thousands of diapers, weathered our way through weaning, potty training, disciplining, and all the other unknown territory that comes with raising little ones.  Most of all we have enjoyed our kids, trying our utmost despite our own shortcomings and imperfections to raise them to love and respect God and give them a secure, fun, joy-filled home life.  Parenting has been among the hardest things we have ever done and we have a long way to go.  But it is the best, most delightful gift we have ever been given, and we are trying to steward it well.

Our first ten years of marriage have been happy.  They have been fun. They have been daily.  They have been romantic.  They have been busy, and sometimes tiring.  They have been refining. They have been fulfilling, mostly in the giving. We have learned, laughed, loved.  We have faced life's ups and downs together, and grown closer to God and each other in the process.  We have deeply enjoyed marriage and each other these first ten years, choosing harmony and unity.  Choosing to give, not receive.  But in the giving, we always seem to receive.  We feel blessed, and motivated to further serve God who gives such rich blessings.

If I were to choose two passage of Scripture to put around our marriage, these are what I would choose...

James 1:17
 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Philippians 2:3-4
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

The night before we got married, we danced to an old song.  Lovers of classic standards, we laughed and swayed as Sinatra crooned these lyrics...

When somebody needs you
It's no good unless he needs you all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the in-between years come what may

Who knows where the road will lead us
Only a fool would say
But if you'll let me love you
It's for sure I'm gonna love you all the way, all the way.

Happy 10 Year Anniversary, Jimmy!  

I love you all the way.

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