After nearly 13 years of marriage, my husband and I continue to marvel at the fact that we have made it this far. Together.
There have been countless disappointments and a variety of detours. There have been forks in the road that, if chosen, would have changed the direction of our lives, and not for the better. Yet, by God’s grace, we have somehow remained on the same path, moving forward, though often at different paces. I’m optimistic that this path we’re on will lead to an older, wiser, version of ourselves. And I’m hopeful we will make it to the end of this path called life together.
But the truth is, we should have never gotten married. We dated, were engaged and then married, all over the course of one short year. I was just 21 and my husband was a recent college graduate. In reality, we barely knew each other. In fact, I think I had experienced longer romances in high school. And while I was his first real girlfriend, I remained in contact with other boyfriends while we dated, and even after we’d been engaged. How foolish I had been! But, I was all about fun and excitement at the time, not thinking too far into the future. Fun and excitement were also the basis for our relationship, more from my end than his, and those two things rarely last a lifetime.
Add all that to my own doubts and it was a marriage destined for failure. I wasn’t sure about getting married at the time. I know for a fact he loved me more than I loved him, at least back then. It hadn’t been a case of love at first sight, and in all honesty, I wasn’t sure that this was the man I was supposed to marry; there were, after all, lots of other cute boys hanging around. I had big dreams, and I wasn’t sure about trading them in for the married life.
But you know what I was sure about? I was sure this man loved me. More than he had ever loved another. I was sure he was a man of integrity, a man who would remain loyal. I was sure I would never find another like him, so despite my doubts, I married him.
And life during those early years of marriage was hard (let’s face it, it still is). I wanted romance and his full attention. He wanted a clean, organized home, and a woman who was “always in the mood.” It turned out I had married, quite possibly, the most unromantic man in existence, while he had married a near hoarder. Our definitions of quality time and connection often differed. While there were probably bigger problems that we faced, these are the ones that to this day, continue to disrupt our relationship, at least from time to time. But each day, we get a little bit closer to fully accepting our differences in behavior and personality.
Just like every other aspect of life, marriage isn’t perfect. It’s hard. It consists of two imperfect and often very different people, trying to live life as one. A nearly impossible feat. But the hardships, disappointments, and imperfections that have added up to 13 years of marriage have taught me that impossible doesn’t exist when two people decide to give their all to each other, and simultaneously allow God to work his magic.
While I was unsure about getting married all those years ago, I know now that God was sure. He had chosen my perfect mate and gifted me the man of my dreams without me even knowing it. This man who always treats me better than I treat him and always puts my needs before his own. This man who has proven worthy of my trust over and over again. This man who has shown me how to love, how to trust, and how to sacrifice, when I want nothing to do with any of those things. It truly was a match made in heaven, even without the whole love at first sight part.
And while we probably shouldn’t have gotten married when we were so immature and naive, I’m glad we did. The joy, growth, and contentment that I’ve experienced in all these years of marriage is far more satisfying than the fun and excitement I once dreamed of.