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!