Thursday, September 3, 2015

Five Years Ago...


Five years ago, I stood on a platform holding the hands of a charming young man and promised him my life.




It seemed simple in the moment. We would live in peace and harmony, communicating clearly and agreeing mostly, all the days of our life and never want again.

Leah Hope Photography


How naïve was I.

Instead of frolicking through life together, I learned within days of marriage that oneness was not something we could achieve just because of the vows we took.

Our love for each other was only a young sprouting root in need of nurturing, light, and water, before it could begin to take deeper root.

Oneness would be the result of the uprooting of all our selfish, ugly parts. It was crouching humbly in the garden of our hearts to self examine the weeds we didn’t even know existed, or kept hidden well.

Five years ago, I would have heard these words and nodded in agreement.
“Yes, yes, I know marriage will require compromise and communication. It will require hard work and dedication, too.”

It’s not something that can be understood until you find yourself walking in it.
And marriage is different for everyone. For some, it’s easier, and for others, much, much harder. Personalities and perspectives, and people in general, are all so complex and unique, and that makes marriage so different for each relationship.

For two stubborn people like us, it’s meant deep toiling at times. Toiling that almost broke our backs and crushed our spirits. It meant times when we uttered words like “separation” and sentences like “I give up” and raised our voices, or shut down entirely. There have been moments, hours, days, months, and years, when our values, preferences, and opinions have been in direct opposition with one another.

I have felt hopeless and alone at times. But when my stomach has churned and tears pooled up, when I felt the most hopeless and hateful, I have been reminded that oneness is worth toiling for.

We were never called to easy things, or to elementary, surface level relationship; on the contrary, we are called to scrape away the surface dirt, to dig deep into the inner workings of our hearts and to surrender time and time again to a love and a hope that goes beyond our best efforts.

I have a sweet friend who has been through divorce once and in my weakest moments, I am always reminded of her good counsel to me, “Marriage is not about creating a comfortable life for us, Krisann. It’s intended to make us more Christ like.”

How grateful I am that we are reaching five years of marriage. Today, I’m especially REJOICING that two stubborn people chose to be just stubborn enough in this quest for oneness that we are still standing hand in hand, stronger in love today than five years ago.

In quiet moments together, leaning against my husband’s barrel chest, I’ve smiled in my soul when he whispered in my ear, “I’m glad we haven’t given up” and I’ve responded, “Me too.”

Our roots are digging deeper each new day.

If you are in a relationship that is not physically, mentally, or emotionally abusive, I hope you can hear me when I say, your marriage deserves a second, third, fourth, fifth… hundredth chance.

If you find yourself the only willing party in a marriage to seek deeper relationship, my heart breaks for you. I want to tell you how deeply sorry I am.

Once, when our marriage was terribly broken, and I was at the end of myself, I felt the stillness and peace of God promise me restoration in our relationship.

It was not overnight transformation on any account, but little by little I began to see that promise come to fruition, and it still is day by day. He can make a way in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Learn to fight for instead of against each other. Seek wiser counsel than yourself. Pray continually. Self-reflect often.

Kindness is a rich nutrient in marriage.

 The tone, the words, and actions we use to communicate can create an environment where our oneness can thrive in love and grace, or tear down and destroy us.

Simple kindness goes a long way.

I’ve been known to burst out in anger. I attack blindly before I retreat and later surrender in regret.

I am learning to calm down and pray before I respond to situations. I’m not there yet, but grace in marriage helps, too.

Marriage can never really be as simple as stating how we feel or why we feel it, and compromising on the color we want the walls painted, or what we are craving for dinner. If it were that easy, divorce rates wouldn’t be as high as they are.

All I know is, five years in, marriage is worth toiling for.

And there's so much proof in the richness of all we've experienced together...







































“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:1-3, 19





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