Monday, June 28, 2010

Marriage Mondays ~ Old Tent New Tent

This week Jeff and I celebrate our 20th anniversary!!! I started writing Marriage Mondays in honor of our approaching milestone, and it has been so good for ME; I hope it's been a help to YOU. Seriously, it seems like just yesterday we were getting married on a hot, humid Saturday in Virginia. The old stone church was cool inside, the flowers looked tragic, the service long and wonderful, the groom teary, and the balloons celebratory as we drove away in a classic car. The day was a sweet and joyful beginning, surrounded by family and friends, though we had no idea what was ahead of us. From the training we received, our families, and our pre-marital counseling, we knew our foundation had to be built on God's truths, for "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain..." Psalm 127:1. I'm sure that conviction has saved, sustained, and steadied us through the ups and downs we couldn't have foreseen. How does anyone stay married or experience marriage well apart from God's help?

In addition to ten pitchers, we were given some cash gifts. I braced myself for life as church mice and advocated saving for critical things like tp & coal for the winter ;). But my wise and ever forward looking hubby (ok and he loves the outdoors) helped me see the value in buying ..... a tent. For the first years of married life it was much like our life: easy to carry, quickly mobile, compact, simple, adventurous, and resilient. We put the miles on it, stuffing it into packs and carrying it over trails that challenged us; it gave us rare glimpses of beautiful things and rewarded us with gems of time shared together. In the process of putting on miles and years, both our tent and marriage experienced the strain life brings. The tent didn't look so new or flashy anymore, and we developed scars from disappointments, tragedies, and mistakes together.

We once laughed at people who drove up to campsites and backed up their cars and lived out of coolers by the light of lanterns. We shouldn't have laughed. Last week we went camping, without our well worn tent of 20 yrs. Like our marriage, our accommodations have changed; we took a pop up camper, two teenagers who look and act like us, a family dog, and 2 coolers we kept in the back of our car near our lantern (that reap what you sow thing ...) . Camping looks different now than when we first spent our wedding dollars to invest in time together. That early investment was well spent, and I'm so thankful I didn't waste the $ on coal and tp. Marriage should look different as the seasons of life change and as we change, but God's truths do not change no matter what the terrain or the challenges.

One of the beautiful qualities of marriage is that as time passes, we log miles and experience together. When we were engaged, Jeff took me to a mountain top and laid out a map to read a letter about how our life would include difficulties and challenges, that it would be hard and at times overwhelming, and he was right. But he also said that the view from the top would be sweet and exhilarating and more awesome than we could imagine, and he was right about that too. We do not look like we did on June 30th, 1990, despite what our friends say, ;) and our marriage looks different, too. I'm so glad it has grown and changed as the Lord has built our house. The building of it has not been in vain. There will not be balloons this week, and we may drive an old car, but it doesn't qualify as "classic." :) God' s Word has proven true, that a house built on the rock withstands the storms that WILL come and threaten to undo us. Read about it in Matt. 7 here.

How is your marriage changing? Are you in a place where the trail seems hard? Do you long for the first days when it was mobile and simple? Are you growing to be wiser and more intimate than when you first began? God wants us to let Him build our marriages into something stronger and sweeter, to let Him perform the miracle of two becoming one. The view from #20 really is beautiful; I hope you're committed to not missing the view. Happy anniversary to US and happy Marriage Monday to YOU!

10 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Shay said...

Marriage Mondays has definitely been an encouragement to me! I enjoy linking up my marriage posts and reading others. Congratulations on your anniversary! Your whole post was wonderful and a definite testimony to the great things that come from allowing God to be in charge of our marriages! :)

NewLife said...

congratulations, this post was quite encouraging. May God bless you with another 20 years and then another 20years after that and yes another 20years after those too etc May His love always abide in you and give you strength.

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Congratulations to you and Jeff on 20 years! What a blessing and encouragement you have been to each other and many others during that time.

We will celebrate our twenty-fifth later this year and my, it is so much easier--excepting the stress we have experienced with our prodigal the last two years. Some days it is very hard for us to "let go and let God" with the situation she is in. Putting that aside, dh and I are so much happier, older and wiser that when we first started wedded bliss ;-)

Have a great Monday!

Michelle said...

A very happy and blessed Anniversary to the both of you!

What a great story, Julie! I can't imagine living in a tent the first years of our married life. That sounds like such an adventure.

We celebrated our 18th year anniversary not too long ago and they just keep getting better!

Wendy Widder said...

Oh, those tragic flowers! And your heroic father! :)

Congrats to you & Jeff! And thanks for being such a wonderful example of what marriage can be. :)

Kela said...

Happy Anniversary!
Our marriage is definitely blossoming daily. We've learned a lot from the past years and are still learning each other, but in a more understanding and "agape" love kind of way (if that makes sense).

Sheri said...

#1 HAPPY 20TH! Wahoo!!! I am so amazed that we have been married 19 years this year, I am sure you feel the same way. It's a bit of a shock isn't it?!

#2 What a wonderful post about how God changes us as we grow in Him.

Cindy Bultema said...

Congratulations!! Woo Hoo!! Celebrating with you! I think it'd be fun for you to share some pics... :) Enjoy your special day!!

P.S. Thanks for another amazing post! You have such a gift with word pictures. Your blog has inspired me more than you know!!

LeAnn said...

Happy 20th anniversary to you guys! Thanks for being willing to share your life with others to help us all.

Crystal Roberts said...

Congratulations, really enjoyed you sharing! And I love the part about logging miles and experience together. We just celebrated our 8th anniversary, and I look forward to making it to our 20th : )