Today marks our seven year wedding anniversary. I’ve been blogging since the fall of 2010 which means this is my third anniversary post. They’re a little weird for me to write since my husband is very private. Last year’s post was fun because it was the two sentence recap of each year. For our fifth anniversary I recapped our New Orleans trip (and good grief I forgot how skinny I’d gotten – hopefully next year’s anniversary pics will look like that).
Today marks seven years. We had some really hysterical and funny moments this year. The kids turned three. We survived Disney. I got a new job and Bray got a promotion. Still I waited to the very last second to write anything because I had no pithy summary or travel review (as that’s already been posted). I have had friends warn me about their experiences around this time period. Most of my close friends have been married longer than I have. I heard all these stories about the rough patches and snags they hit. There’s of course the psychology legend that this is when people are more susceptible to infidelity because of boredom or frustration or sameness. Even girlfriends that never had a hint of inappropriate relationships on either side said how challenging the sixth to eighth years were. How somehow it feels permanent. One friend’s husband said, “It just feels like this is how it’s going to be all the time.” And that’s hard because for so many of us the seven year mark is definitely NOT how it’s going to look all the time. It may feel A LOT harder now than it will feel in a few years. You go through career changes. Maybe home or location changes. You often have young kids. Your finances start to look different. There are just a lot of factors that make this time so completely different from what the future will look like. But when you’re in the forest, you forget because you’re stuck looking at one tree.
This time is no different for us. It’s been a harder than usual year. For no reason other than life is hard, in the most wonderful and best way. We both have demanding jobs, aging parents, and preschool aged children. Our schedules are packed and there’s less time for each other. So we snap and we retreat. But we also remain steadfastly committed.
Don’t let the circumstances of the NOW fool you into thinking this will be your circumstances in the LATER. Every day is a new opportunity. A very wise friend gave me her “three steps” to working through tough spots when she had just gotten through her own tough spots. I won’t write them all down because she’s going to make a zillion dollars when she writes it out all, but I will share some of her wisdom. Some of her words hinge on the fact that I get particularly anxious about marital challenges because my own parents got divorced. Even though we are both so committed to making this work, and I know the ups always follow the downs, I still have scars on my heart from that divorce. She shared how you pray for your husband in tough times, you don’t assign blame, and you surrender: “You are being given the opportunity to learn to love your husband the right way – without fear he will leave you. You can love him, no matter what he does. You have to confess any wrong you have done, but you can’t let guilt drive your decisions. Your husband didn’t save you. You have to let the Lord free you of your dependency. This is where it gets really hard, but you must surrender your husband and marriage to the Lord. You tell the Lord to, Do whatever you must and I know you will sustain me because You want me to find my wholeness in You alone. I trust in YOU, Lord. Not anywhere or anyone else… In praying this, you assure your marriage will not end like your parents. I know that fear is hounding you. In surrendering to God, like Hannah, the Lord will honor you. Your heart will be pure and your reverence for Him will grow more complete. The sooner you surrender, the sooner the Lord can come in and get His work done.”
I am so proud of our seven years. We have had light fun years and hard sad years and most years are a huge mix of both. I’m going to be proud of 14 and 21 and 28 and 35 years. I know that because I know that no matter what comes we believe in each other and in God and in our family.
Ecclesiastes 4: Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
I Corinthians 13: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.