By now, it’s common knowledge….a done deal.
At least I’ve jumped up and down enough about it so that few could have missed the fact that my husband and I have just celebrated the 25-year mark of our marriage. And when I say “celebrate”… I mean celebrate.
To those here reading who’ve “been there— done that” or know others who have and it’s no big deal, thank you for the grace I need to say it again. Because, in my family’s history I’m the first for known generations to make it this far and in this day and age of disposable-everything, it’s almost unheard of.
And for us… well, it’s absolutely a miracle.
I used to joke that if we had a dollar for every naysay that we’d ever make it this far, we’d have enough to take that trip to Greece we’ve always wanted! In fact— we’re “fairly certain” (wink wink) that God is calling us to serve the Good People of Greece someday! Oh but I digress…..
Let me tell you the one thing I could not see twenty-five years ago: today. Of course, how could I? But what I mean is that I could not see this day because it never occurred to me to think any further than the moment I was in. Call it youthful ignorance — it was more like being blinded by selfishness and some sort of “carpe diem” fatalism.
Even on the day I was married, I had zero concept of what it meant to keep a lifelong promise or to faithfully protect a relationship— I’d never experienced such a thing.
Covenant was not a part of my vocabulary or my understanding. But there I was; fresh-faced and ignorant, standing in the midst of a handful of family and friends, about to say “I do” to a man I’d only known for 5 months.
At this point, I’m not ashamed to admit— I truly had NO idea what I was doing. Neither of us did. All I knew was to say “I do” then and to somehow wake up every day and say “I do” again no matter what else was going on. By the grace of God, and most imperfectly, I’ve managed to do it… so far, for twenty-five years.
The daily-ness of this “I do” has expressed itself in countless numbers of intentional and unintentional moments: matching socks, wiping spills or gathering up the worn, sweaty tee-shirts draped across the lampshades to air out– AGAIN. Putting down the toilet seat, wiping toothpaste off the mirror, working side by side in the kitchen or video editing while listening to the ruckus and row of three kids bouncing around the house.
There were long seasons… seasons when it barely rose above a discernible whisper… drowned out and nearly crushed beneath the weight of a hundred other “I do’s” while an endless line of others stood on the sidelines shouting, “Do ME too!”. In those seasons…blinded by false light, it nearly gave itself away.
It almost got lost in years of confusion, disappointment and broken promises…when “I do” was growled through clenched teeth, struggling to get past the pain inflicted by the many other hard and ugly words that set fire to our home, leaving ashes in their wake.
Then “I do” meant untold hours of tense conversations and wadded up tissues and searching hard for the wedding band which had been thrown across the room in a fit of rage. It was under the piano.
In the midst of it all, that wounded “I do” was met by the healing of I AM and was restored and recovered from the fires that threatened to consume but forged and fused it inseparably–and most intimately– instead.
And while we’re on the subject of intimacy….people, I thought I had that stuff all figured out. But twenty-five years has taught me that all those early years of “I do” behind closed doors were only scratching the surface compared to the intimacy of the ones we now know.
It’s shocking really… how little I understood about this deep intimacy and yet how I craved and continued to seek it. I laugh now at how shy and exposed I felt when my husband took me by the hand and sitting side by side we finally prayed together.
I had no idea—entrusting your unclothed body is little compared to being able to share your naked soul with one another. Truthfully, it’s been the trust shared and built between us here that’s made all the difference in every other area of our relationship.
This is what I could not see twenty five years ago. I didn’t have the eyes for it. I had NO idea what it meant for “two to become one”. I get it now.
It’s not that either of us is less than who we are by ourselves. It’s that blended and before God, we are each more than we could ever be alone.
And this “two becoming one” thing of marriage…it’s not some mystical and covenantal change of status found in the instant of that first “I do”. No, it’s discovered all along the way…in the becoming… the daily choosing and the time it takes to get there— in every moment of every day and every “I do” that follows.
This past Sunday, I stood on the beach holding hands with that man of mine and together again, we prayed…thanking and praising God for our life together and for all it took to get us here. I cried just a little bit… so grateful for the miracle… for the privilege of this “I do” life together.
I’m glad I didn’t miss it.