31 years ago today, on the day I got married, I was 21. There was a lot I didn’t know. A lot! I look back now and can see just how utterly clueless my 21-year-old self was about life, love, and marriage. I’ve heard it said that love is blind and that perhaps it’s good that it is for no one would ever marry.
On the day I got married, I was blind to many things.
I didn’t know that my wedding night would be imperfect.
I didn’t know that our childhood wounds would have such an impact on our marriage.
I didn’t know how many tears I would cry.
I didn’t know that by keeping the peace we were actually paving the way to war.
I didn’t know that my marriage would begin unraveling at 23 years.
I didn’t know that it had really been unraveling the entire time.
I didn’t know that it would completely unravel at 29 years.
I didn’t know that it would be ending at 30.
And while on the day I got married 31 years ago I believed my marriage would last forever, I didn’t know that I’d be surprised to still be together today.
Perhaps I was clueless on the day I got married but there were some things I did know as well.
I knew I loved him.
I knew I wanted to marry him.
I knew I wanted to stay married to him forever.
I knew I wanted to be a parent with him.
I knew I wanted to serve God and the Church with him.
I knew I wanted to adventure together – and boy have we done that!
I knew I wanted to grow old with him.
After the disclosure of my husband’s betrayals, all of what I once knew was in question. We sat on the back porch of our house in the Texas Hill Country when he asked me if I was mad at God for making me marry him. I didn’t have to think about my answer and I still stand by it.
No, I’m not mad at God for marrying him.
I wanted to marry him. It was my choice. I wasn’t forced or coerced or manipulated into marrying someone I didn’t want to marry. God doesn’t work that way and I’m a little smarter than that. When I answered my husband’s question on the porch that day, I wholly believed that whether our marriage ended or survived betrayal, marrying him was not a mistake.
Today, 31 years from the day I got married, I have been able to help a fellow hurting wife take steps forward in her journey toward healing. This is a gift and proof that God never wastes our pain.
Today, 31 years from the day I got married, I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that I’m grateful for today.
Today, 31 years from the day I got married, here’s what I know.
It’s been good.
It’s been hard.
Who but God knows what’s ahead for me, for my husband, or for my marriage? What I do know is that I intend to keep living and keep surviving. I intend to live out His story for my life whatever that looks like. I imagine, if I’m alive 31 years from now (Yikes, I’ll be 83!) and if I can still think and write, I will be able to update this post with some pretty incredible stories.
We don’t know what we don’t know. But we do know what we do know. And what I know is that today is good and I am grateful to be married to the man I knew I wanted to marry 31 years ago. Just like we walked down the aisle of that church into our unknown future on November 19, 1988, I’m grateful to be walking into the future with him today on November 19, 2019.
Tommy, I am not mad at God for making me marry you. I’m not mad at all, at anyone. On the day I got married, I chose to marry you and 31 years later, I choose to stay married to you.
As with the pressing of new wine, let’s keep working. Onward to 32 and beyond!
“We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 NIV