It’s time for another anniversary post.
But in the seven years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned an important lesson about blogging about marriage (the hard way).
Early on in my blogging life, maybe because I felt like no one was reading the thing, I wrote more about marriage. If we were going through a rough patch, I might write a thinly veiled story about marriage ‘generally.’ One day, my hubby got a call from someone close to him who asked, “are you guys alright?”
We were, but we’d hit a speed bump which I blogged about ‘generally.’ All marriages hit speed bumps, probably hundreds of them if they last decades. Most of them aren’t public, though. So my husband and I talked and agreed that since only one of us was a blogger (and the other one intensely private), I needed to stick to my part of the story and leave his parts off the blog.
I write infrequently about marriage for that reason. One exception is the annual anniversary post. Because, while I write about many topics, the genesis of this blog was to chronicle our family of five’s journey for our family of five. Yet every year isn’t sunshine and roses. That can be because of either or both people in the marriage OR because of outside circumstances completely out of the control of either spouse.
The latter reason is why our year has been hard. Probably the hardest since year 7. That year we gritted our teeth and hung on – illustrating love is a choice not a feeling. By year 8, we’d come out of the shadows and were stronger for it. Because I blogged during year 7, I went back and looked at that post:
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: 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.”
The sooner you surrender.
That’s no fun.
But it’s the only place God can work.
I remember Bray telling me how incredibly hard our last year of infertility was for him. I said, “I rarely saw that.” He replied, “Well, I couldn’t really show you because you were so devastated.”
Such a good man.
And it’s true. I was a wreck. He held it together. But he still suffered enormously. This year, it was my turn to repay the favor. It’s been hard, but I was supposed to support him without unraveling. I haven’t been as magnanimous. I’ve struggled visibly and lost my patience and let my self control and sense of commitment to others over myself erode.
We kiss each other goodbye every morning.
We say I love you every night.
On days apart, we talk at the end of every day to check in.
Even in the hard, or even more so because of the hard, we are committed. We do laundry and meals and he pitches at the boys baseball games and I hold front row seats for the kids spring musical and we go on Spring Break adventures and we pray with the kids and he tolerates me dancing like a fool to Tom Petty.
We did 11 years.
And we will do 11 more. Then 11 more. Until death do us part.