Our crystal anniversary began much like every other day. As the custodian of the alarm, I woke you up. You immediately squeezed my hand and whispered “Happy anniversary—I love you” in your morning voice. We slowly made our way out of the bedroom and down the hall to the coffee maker—the one you bought me for our tenth anniversary. I poured in the coffee beans and then we sat by the fireplace sipping and reading in the quiet before kids started emerging from their bedrooms to begin the school morning routines. We’re counting out the years of our lives not in extraordinary moments, but in the ordinary ones like these—another 5:45 am workout here, another side by side Bible reading here, a Monday morning breakfast out, another Saturday soccer game, breakfast dinners and pizza nights, Premier League mornings, piano lessons, calendar conversations, parenting discussions, dream-sharing, fear-disclosing, committing our ways to the Lord in prayer before tucking in at night. A marriage is made or unmade in these ordinary moments. And by God’s grace, ours is daily being made.
Below is a picture of our first Christmas together (2001) where we both sensed that this was headed somewhere. And sure enough, one year later we were engaged and two years later, married. Before this moment turns memory, I wanted to reflect on some lessons learned through these 15 years of marriage.
15 Thoughts for 15 Years.
- Unarticulated and undealt with expectations are silent killers in a marriage.
- Impatience, irritability, eye-rolling and the like are not-so-silent marriage killers.
- Rude-interrupting, talking over, name-calling, and mocking are bad. Very bad. As I tell the children, “That is NOT how we handle conflict.” Unless you’re in politics, but I digress…
- Marriage depends on forgiveness.
- Marriage depends on a mutual understanding of and compassion toward each other’s weaknesses and differing capacities.
- And on love—the kind of love that doesn’t assume evil, judge prematurely, or think too highly of itself; the kind of love that willingly sacrifices itself for the good of the other. See I Corinthians 13.
- Gratitude is a marriage saver. It nurtures a marriage. And as it is fostered, bitterness begins to shrivel and die. Thanking God for your spouse and expressing your thankfulness to them does wonders for your heart.
- People are never totally predictable; that variety keeps things interesting.
- It pays to be observant of your spouse.
- Give your spouse the best parts of you. Marriage won’t thrive on a diet of leftovers.
- A good marriage is like coming home. It is a place of peace, comfort, rest, safety, and acceptance.
- Marriage improves with age.
- Children are good gifts from the Lord. They unite parents in a common goal.
- People change, but habits are hard to break. (See #4 & #5)
- Don’t confuse your spouse’s responsibilities with God’s. Your spouse is only human. God alone can say:
I have upheld you since you were conceived,
And have carried you since your birth.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I AM HE,
I am he who will sustain you. Is 46:3-4
Happy 15th! Praying for God to sustain us both for many, many more!