Twenty years ago today, two wide-eyed 22-year-old kids stood before their family and friends and pledged to have and to hold each other til death did them part.

They had no idea what they were getting into, but spoiler alert: they made it!

Today is my long-awaited, excitedly expected, much planned for, 20th wedding anniversary. My husband (naturally, the other of those two kids) took the day off work and we were going to spend an amazing day together while the kids were at school. Then, in May, we were going to leave on a jet plane for a second honeymoon to the place where we took our first honeymoon—Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Then, two weeks ago the world went all PANDEMIC on us.

Thanks to Coronavirus, our big 20th celebration for today is totally canceled. Our kids are home and so are we. There won’t be a romantic moment alone in sight. We can’t even go out to the fancy restaurant we made reservations for. Our trip in May? Very likely canceled as well. (That one hurts a little.)

Our marriage, however? Very much intact.

P – R – A – I – S – E !! Trust me, I do not take that for granted.

The reason we wanted to celebrate our 20th anniversary in a BIG way is because we know getting to this point is a BIG deal. We fought for it and sacrificed for it. It felt like we deserved it, I guess.

But. A virus has changed our plans, and has reminded us once again of one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about marriage in 20-years’ time: you gotta take what life throws at you and make the best of it.

RELATED: Dear Husband, I Need Us To Be a Team Now More Than Ever

Let me tell you something, Reader: it is so much easier to make the best of any situation with the man I chose by my side.

He’s my high school sweetheart, my childhood friend, my adult BFF. My confidant and my kiddos’ dad, and no matter what day it is, he makes it great. In this uncertain time, he continues to work hard to provide for our family, goes to the grocery so none of the rest of us will be exposed, and calms my anxieties when everything is so completely out of my control. He is my person.

The truth is, our 20th anniversary doesn’t matter—our marriage does.

RELATED: Marriage isn’t Making Vows, it’s Keeping Them

We don’t NEED the big celebration. (Though I still want it, do NOT get me wrong, ha!) We will make today special in a million different little ways. We will eat all three meals with our three kids, instead of going out. We will support a local business by ordering anniversary take-out while we shelter in place. We will be thankful that we are healthy and together and that we made it twenty freaking years

And it will be, like our marriage, wonderful, fun —and perfectly imperfect. Possibly a little messy, too. 

Pondering my virus-botched 20th anniversary plans got me thinking very sympathetically about all the brides whose weddings are being canceled. I got to have my big wedding, and I ache for those of you who won’t because of this global pandemic.

And yet, I feel like, if you’re in that boat, perhaps you’re starting out with an advantage. You will know something that it takes many married couples years to learn: marriage isn’t about the wedding.

It isn’t about a day, or a party, a first dance or even having everyone you love in one room.

Those of you whose weddings just went from 300 guests in a stunning venue to eight people in your mom’s backyard or three people in a courthouse will understand that implicitly, and even if you don’t realize it now, that’s a gift.

RELATED: Dear Bride, I Promise You Will Still Get Your Special Day

Marriage is about two people and God. It’s about sticking together through a lifetime full of the messy, the unplanned and unexpected, not a meticulously-planned, aesthetically pleasing party thrown on a single day. 

It took me longer than I care to admit to learn that one (my poor husband!)

When we vowed to cling to each other “in sickness and in health” I never thought that a worldwide sickness would play into our marriage. I could not have fathomed it. But here we are, celebrating the big 2-0 on literal lockdown, thankful for our health and an appropriate amount of toilet paper. And 20 years after my naive self (who had no idea what she was getting into) took those vows, I can honestly say a big “thank the Lord and hallelujah” that I get to be locked down with the man I chose then, and every day since.

Happy Quarantined Anniversary, my love!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.

My Husband Doesn’t Change Dirty Diapers

In: Marriage
Father holding baby

My husband doesn’t change dirty diapers. He hates it. The mere thought of a dirty diaper makes him gag. He will drive almost any bargain to get out of changing a diaper filled with anything stinky. In fact, there are a few things my husband doesn’t do that fall solely on me. If I sat down (okay, sort of like I am right now), I could compile an entire list of things my husband doesn’t do for our family. I could write about everything I do better than him and everything I know more about. But that wouldn’t be fair....

Keep Reading

You Came between Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler between mom and dad under sheet

Right in the middle of our deepest love, you came—just between us. A silent, unseen surprise. A mysterious miracle of incarnated love and joy. From that sacred moment that we couldn’t imagine being any sweeter, came you. Sometime in the middle of all the daily goodbye hugs, my stomach began to grow and you came between us. This beautiful bundle of life blossoming right inside of me. And we were in awe of every single tiny formation of you. In awe of who you were, excited by who you’d be, in awe that you were ours. You came between us...

Keep Reading

To My Wife: I See Your Sacrifice

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Family of 3 sitting on floor together at home

Selfless. No other word more clearly depicts your commitment to your family. Motherhood is drastically different than you dreamed of your whole life—the dreams of what sort of mama you would be, of how much you would enjoy being a mother even on the tough days. Since day one of our relationship, you’ve been selfless. Since day one of being a mama, you’ve been selfless. Your love for your family shines through on the brightest and darkest days. But on the dark days, it shines the brightest. I can’t count the hours of sleep sacrificed, the tears cried, the time...

Keep Reading

If You’re Fighting for Your Marriage Right Now, Keep Going

In: Marriage
Couple embracing with worried look on woman's face

My husband and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage last week. For the first five years of our marriage, we had no kids. We now have six. We have been through multiple moves, job changes, pregnancies, miscarriage, child loss, the death of loved ones, grief, three adoptions, mental illness etc. I see marriage totally differently than I did 20 years ago.  I believe, above everything, it takes two people willing to sacrifice and work hard (maybe one more than the other during different seasons) in order for the marriage to stay afloat. Marriage, if done right, does not puff one up...

Keep Reading

She Left Him on Valentine’s Day

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband kissing wife on cheek, color photo

“Can you believe that?” Those were the dreaded knife-cutting whispers I heard from across the table. I sunk deeper into my chair. My hopes fell as everyone would forever remember that I had left my fiancée on Valentine’s Day. Maybe one day it would just dissipate like the dream wedding I had planned or the canceled plane tickets for the Hawaiian honeymoon. Some bridesmaids and guests had already booked plane tickets. It was my own nightmare that kept replaying in my head over and over again. I had messed up. Big time. To be honest, if it made any difference,...

Keep Reading

“I Can’t Do This Anymore,” He Said—Then Everything Changed

In: Living, Marriage
Woman with head in hands

The questions are very much valid. Did I know when I married him? Did I know when we struggled with infertility and trying to become parents? Did I know when we unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child? When did you know your husband was an alcoholic? The answer is simple yet so complex, I pretty much knew from the first year, yet I was in complete denial. When I met him, he was just my type—a bad boy with a bad reputation, yet so cute! On our third date or so, I saw how much he could drink and how...

Keep Reading

I Want More than Mediocre Love

In: Marriage
Man and woman holding hands facing away from each other, silhouette

It felt like an out-of-body experience as I watched my fingers type into the Google search bar, “Local divorce lawyers near me.” I just want to know my options. Yet, my heart pounded as realized I was halfway serious in considering a divorce. There was no betrayal, no abuse, no lying, or cheating. My husband was and is a good man. The truth was he did not do anything wrong, I was just convinced he was doing nothing right. We were in the thick of life with a new baby, and I was certain that the man I loved was...

Keep Reading

My Husband’s in Love with a Different Woman Now

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Couple standing by Christmas decorations

He’s in love with a different woman now . . . I met my husband seven years ago. We got married and went on adventures. Went to some weddings and had a bunch of kids. Every Christmas party season, we would celebrate by going out to dinner . . . except this year that one dress didn’t fit. I had my husband try to zip it, and then my mom . . . there was no budging. I had been tiny, I had been heavy—sick and healthy. My weight had been a roller coaster always. But, this special dress had always...

Keep Reading

Did I Deserve My Husband’s Affair?

In: Marriage
Woman looking out window

When my husband left and ran off with a lady from his office, all of my friends and family bombarded me with one massive conclusion: Divorce him! You deserve better! Back then, I agreed. “Yes! I deserve way better than this!” And like a fast-moving train locked in place, my deserving something better became the fuel to cut him off. Then, as time wore on, I began to wonder, what exactly did I “deserve”? In the dictionary, “deserve” means “to have earned or to be given something because of the way you have behaved or the qualities you have.” Am I...

Keep Reading

I’ve Changed My Mind about Everything but You

In: Marriage
Husband and wife selfie in field of wildflowers, color photo

I’ve changed my mind about almost everything but you. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t pick my favorite Spice Girl. I loved Baby Spice, but was also a big fan of sports. So what about Sporty Spice? And all their outfits were so cool, I couldn’t make up my mind about which one I hoped to become one day. When I was in middle school, I’d eagerly await my bi-weekly orthodontist appointments just so I could pick a new band color for my braces. And within a day or two, I’d have already decided I hated them, and...

Keep Reading