I can hardly believe it but this weekend Dan and I will celebrate our 11th anniversary. As I pondered this upcoming event the first thought I had was how quickly the time has flown. And yet, I feel like there was never a time that I wasn’t his and he mine. Crazy. One thing I know for sure is that through the gift of our love I have learned much and grown in ways I never would have thought possible. For my benefit more than anything else I thought I’d jot down eleven of the most important things I learned during my first eleven years as a wife.
- Marriage is a gift (through good times and bad) and should be treated as such. Taking it for granted is the surest way to find our union on shaky ground.
- It’s absolutely fruitless to play the comparison game. No one is perfect, but God thought Dan was just right for me and me alone. And he would know best!
- Great harm can come from not assuming positive intent. My husband pours himself out for me and our children every day. He deserves nothing less than a wife who looks for (and believes) the best in him.
- Cultivating romance is not only one of the most fun aspects of marriage but is also the key to thriving as husband and wife. Also, it’s hugely important to be intentional in expressing my love. Our life seems to get busier with each passing year. Unless I make a conscious effort to go the extra mile, expressing my love to my husband tends to get put on the back burner. Over the years I’ve learned that our marriage is the rock that our family rests upon and that tending to our relationship is a non-negotiable.
- Keeping score is an exercise in futility. At any given point during marriage it will feel like one spouse is giving more or loving better than the other. But as sure as the sun rises the tables will turn and the other spouse will have a chance to return the favor. That’s just the nature of marriage. It’s all about loving, life-giving service.
- Building my husband up is an honor that I should cherish. God gave me this man and tasked me with caring for him – mind, body, and soul. What a lucky girl I am.
- Continuous hard work is a must. Dan and I are always growing and changing both individually as a couple. As different seasons come and go we are given the privilege of learning to love with more vulnerability, greater hope, and deeper selflessness.
- Marriage is a series of peaks and valleys. I’ve learned to not despair when we hit a rocky patch for in time the valley floor recedes behind us and we are mercifully lifted up to inhale the crisp, refreshing air of a marital mountain peak.
- Forgiveness is a must. One of my worst personality traits is that I tend to hold grudges. Thanks to this crazy little thing called marriage my eyes have been opened to the fact that to do so is a vicious form of pride for it assumes that my judgement is infallible and my behavior without fault. Over and over again I’ve seen how when I approach my spouse with mercy our love deepens.
- We must always be on guard against spiritual attack. Not always fun to talk about but very real.
- Though two became one, it’s true, we also became three and without God at the center of our marriage, it is a dead thing.
(Happy anniversary, my sweet love!)