Friday, January 23, 2015

on our tenth anniversary

“No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I've been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I've learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won't stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.” ~ Madeline L'Engle



Dear M,

We celebrate our tenth anniversary tomorrow. So when I read this Madeline L'Engle quote tonight, I felt it speak to my heart. It is so completely true. How did she so accurately and beautifully describe what marriage is?

I cannot believe we have been married ten years.

I look around our little house, the one in which we have spent 95% of our married life, the one we thought we would be in for just four or five years, and it is easy in the chaos and stress of life to get distracted and dissatisfied.  I didn't know what I was signing up for when I said, "Hey, why don't we just elope?" I didn't know that marriage would be so hard. I didn't understand the work it would entail to grow together.

I didn't know that there would be days and weeks and seasons of being so angry or disappointed or confused - not necessarily just in marriage but in what life has handed us in general.  I didn't know that I was such a selfish person until it was a struggle for me to not always get my own way. I didn't know we would handle loss differently - loss of a pregnancy, loss of a job, loss of faith in people, loss of hopes and dreams and expectations. And I didn't know these differences would often frustrate me.

But I also didn't know, ten years ago, how much living with a person, day after day, in a covenant relationship, would grow me. I didn't know that there would be times I would want to walk out the door, and I didn't know the relief I would feel that you would always stay. I didn't realize that growth would be painful but beautiful, and that I would not trade any of the pain because I am a better person for going through it with you.

I didn't know that Jerry Maguire's "You complete me," was a bunch of crap - and that trying to be completed by another person, even you my husband, would only leave me disillusioned.  Instead I would say that I have learned that, "You complete me" should actually be "You sharpen me," or "You challenge me," or "You encourage me," or "You love me."

You have loved me at some of my worst moments, in times when I did not even love myself. You are steady and methodical.  You are patient and wise. You are hard-working and you make me laugh.  You never complain that I would rather look over educational theories and curricula than learn to be a better cook. You  listen to my endless theological rants (you know which one). You still hold my hand in the car.  

You have taken the phone from my hands and stood up for me at the moment I most needed you to do such a thing.  You have been given my trust, even though in some ways it took awhile for me,  and you have been faithful with that trust. 

I love you. Thank you for being my husband of ten years and counting on more...

Love,
Amanda







(picture by Sarah Bottarel)


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