Tuesday, March 12, 2013

8 years

Today we celebrate 8 years of marriage. 

8 years. 

To some that may not seem like long at all and to others it may seem an unattainable number.

The past 8 years have been filled with the blessing of being married to my best friend
and also in being pushed to our limits by one another.
8 years of stretching and growing, learning to die to self and of learning to cherish what we have.
8 years spent trying not to take one another for granted,
8 years of learning to forgive each others shortcomings and celebrating each others strengths.

Can I be honest with you here?

Last year was a hard one on us. Selling a home, moving into a new home, increasing my work schedule to five days a week, Marcus' second year in graduate school, raising two strong-willed children, battling through some post-partum anxiety I still had, and learning to set priorities. There were days that were hard. Exhausting even. Days when we were too tired to have the hard discussions that probably needed to happen. Times when I chose to serve myself instead of him, to snap and lose my temper over insignificant items. Days that I went to sleep feeling like he didn't understand me or worse, that he didn't want to try. Days that he felt like he wasn't respected, wasn't valued, wasn't the leader we needed.

But can I tell you something else? And this is important, so please keep reading. There were way more good days than bad. Days when we laughed til we cried in the kitchen while watching the kids playing in the back yard. Days spent dreaming and planning of what life will be like when some of these hard seasons of life are behind us. Moments spent celebrating all that is good and right in the world and times that I felt as loved and accepted and appreciated as ever.

You see, we do NOT have this marriage thing all figured out. I doubt we ever will. But we have made a commitment to CHOOSE to love one another even when it's hard... Even when it may be the last thing we feel like doing. We have sat and had those tough conversations when they absolutely needed to happen and we have chosen to work things out when they are still little before they have the chance to become big things.

I've learned that life and love and marriage are nothing like they are portrayed in movies and in love songs. And that is okay. Through this institution called Marriage I have learned am learning how to stick things out even when they're hard, how to love when someone doesn't want to be loved (and how to let someone love me when I am unlovable). I'm learning how to submit when it's hard and also how to serve not out of obligation but out of the overflow of the heart. I'm working on learning to listen more and speak less, to spend time doing things that he enjoys. We have learned the importance of being on the same team and cheering one another on- even when we may be the only ones doing so. We know the power in spending time in prayer and calling out to God to change our hearts.

And I can tell you today with complete honesty that I love this man more than I did the day I married him. I love the man he was then, and I love even more the man God is growing him into being now. He is my best friend and the person that God has specifically designed for me. I am grateful for the lessons we are learning and how God is changing our hearts even after 8 years. He was worth waiting on. He was worth all the years wondering why I hadn't met 'the one' yet. And he is worth every single moment of hard work that may be required now.

Are you in a marriage that may seem like it's too much work? Too challenging? Too empty?

Hear me, friend, God wants to rescue and redeem your marriage. Turn it over to him.

If you're interested in learning more, can I point you to @LaraWilliams? This month, her book "To Walk or Stay" is coming out. I am not exaggerating this, y'all...this woman has a way with words that can only be a gift straight from God. Her book is powerful, full of truth and grace, and may be just the inspiration you need to give your marriage all that it needs. I believe the official release date is March 15th, and it will be available at amazon. You can find out more information at www.tooverflowing.com

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