The Young Bride:

Today is my 20th wedding anniversary.

Twenty years ago today, at 6 a.m. I was waking up to the bright, hot day I was the bride.

I had not slept much the night before, but not from nervousness. I was way too excited. My mom and I kept meeting in the hallway in the middle of the night remembering tiny details we wanted to make sure came together.

I had heard of brides who were too stressed to enjoy their wedding day, and I didn’t want that to be me.

The day went perfectly. I savored every moment.

As is true of every bride, there were ideals I clung to that day, and so much I didn’t know.

I knew God would bless our union because God is the creator of marriage. Marriage is one of the best glimpses of heaven we have here on earth.

The Forgiveness Required

I knew marriage meant the joining of two hearts and lives. I knew it was going to require sacrifice.

I did not know the deepest level of forgiveness that would be required, both to ask for and to give.

Here is the definition of a good marriage: “The union of 2 fantastic forgivers.”

I did not know, honestly could not have imagined, that the 19th year of our marriage would be one of the hardest. How could a young bride, then a new mom, then an experienced wife of many years, begin to guess?

Yet God in his infinite wisdom chose to pour out a refining fire on our lives this last year

I knew I loved this man and was willing to commit the rest of my life to him.

I did not know that love would grow stronger, deeper, and more vibrant with time, to the point where my breath catches and my heart aches in the attempt to describe it. That 20-year-ago wedding day, I thought surely my love burned as brightly as a love possibly can burn.

While it is true that love is a choice, over a lifetime of marriage you do fall in and out of love with your spouse. You certainly fall in and out of feeling in love.

I chose this man and my commitment has never wavered. I’ve never not loved him. He’s my partner in running this kind-of broken house and parenting this crazy, fantastic group of kids. He is a great listener when I need to rant, and the person who knows I loathe green peppers yet eat jalapenos on everything.

We are also opposite personalities and he drives me bonkers sometimes. His techie-geek, exploring, free-thinking spirit rubs every to-do listing, organizing, controlling way in me totally nuts on the bad days.

Marriage is Like Sandpaper.

Marriage is like sandpaper. God is using this most intimate of relationships, as we bump and bash against each other day after day, to smooth out the edges that need to be roughed away.

It’s painful work, my friends, but the end result is worth sticking around for. God blesses us for hanging on for it.  We are different people — better people than we would have been apart.

Here is why to stay married — even when it’s hard:  Each time you fall back in love with your spouse, God blesses your love to be stronger and more like His.

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