I went to find a recent picture of Rich and me to introduce this post and I couldn't find one. Sad! I found plenty of pictures of us, just not together. We're always the ones taking the picture of each other with the kids. Avery's always asking to take pictures, so I guess I'd better let her more often if I want to document the fact that we, indeed, are happily married and are together at all these activities we do with our girls!
Today is our tenth wedding anniversary. The fact that it's very early in the morning and I've been up a while with a bit of a tummy bug and we have plans to go away is not important...
I feel like I could write a book already on marriage and all that Rich and I have been through. If anyone out there reading this has been married much longer than us, I assume you're thinking, "Just you wait..." and I'm sure you'd be right in the assumption that there is so much more ahead for us to learn. However, God has not wasted a moment in the last ten years as He's sought to stretch us far beyond what we thought was our breaking point.
Think : Paula Abdul. I tried to quote a few lines from the song, "Opposites Attract", but I couldn't remember enough of the words. Honestly, I think it's one of those songs that I mumble quite a few of the lyrics of anyway, since I can't understand half of what they're saying. However, I think you get my point that I'm leading into the thought that Rich and I are OPPOSITE!!! Of course, the longer we've been married, the more we develop similar interests and passions. But at the core of our personalities, we really couldn't be more different. At the end of a church service, he can't get out of there fast enough, and I can't seem to get out of there at all! He likes to avoid conversation as much as possible (we've even gone through phases where he tries to use shortcuts, like saying an entire sentence to me using only the first letter of each word. ie: "Yes, I put out the trash" becomes "Y-I-P-O-T-T" and when I ask for an explanation, he says he wants me to figure it out, to improve my analytical skills. Yep.) and I crave lots of conversation. He is truly a pessimist (but making great improvements) and I, being a natural optimist, have become so even to a fault, as a result of combating his frequent negative expectations. I could go on about our differences, but I won't drag it out.
I'd say we first realized we were like everyone else and were going to have some struggles in our marriage when our first daughter was born. Suddenly, he wasn't quite so perfect and didn't live up to every expectation I had for him in life. And, I dare say, he probably thought the same thing about me. From there we really struggled. There have been times when I just wasn't sure how things were going to get solved.
I think our biggest struggle, at the root of any issues we may have, is our desire to fulfill God's design for a marriage. We very badly want to do this, and know that it's possible with the help of His Spirit. God wouldn't desire something of us and not equip us to achieve it. My nature very much desires control, and my stupidity believes myself to be right just about all of the time. Rich's nature is to let someone else take control. Not for him to be controlled, but just to let someone else do all the worrying and dirty work. I've had to apologize when I've realized I've slipped into a bad habit of correcting him in his parenting, or simply telling him to take a different route on our way to church. He's had to ask me to encourage him to make decisions, rather than just taking care of it myself. I don't share this lightly. It breaks my heart to think of what a struggle it is to please the Lord in this way. Tears come to my eyes as I remember how much I've failed as a wife in my desire to be right.
I have often found myself jealous of couples that seemed to me more compatible or that more easily fit the mold of a godly marriage. And those thoughts were lies meant to deceive and discourage me. No marriage is easy. No marriage is devoid of struggles and pain. I'll never forget the time my good friend Karin said to us, "You two are one of the most compatible couples I know. You're so sweet together." And Karin knows us!!! It was about the most wonderful thing to hear that someone who knew us very well believed this about us.
Marriage (along with parenting) has stretched me and brought me to such a deeper understanding of God and my salvation than I ever thought possible. Rich is such a wonderful husband! He is so sensitive to our daughters and grows daily in his desire to lead them in the ways of the Lord. He makes me feel like the most adored, beautiful woman on the planet. He loves to tell me he can't believe he "got me".
If you can relate to anything I've shared, I hope it encourages you that you are not alone. Satan wants to destroy the Christian marriage and loves it when sin starts to eat away at God's masterpiece. Whatever your struggles are, I'm happy to share that my marriage is an example of God's great love and goodness. He is faithful to His children when we call on His name.
We fail daily at our goal of a perfect, godly marriage. Some days are much worse than others. But we have really come a long way, Baby. I love Richie so much and am trusting God to keep working on us for as many more years as He chooses to give us, until one or both of us is before Him, face to face.