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On Saturday, my husband and I will be celebrating our 23rd year of marriage. Crazy! I can’t help but think of Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
I love that our anniversary hits on Saturday this year because I can remember the weekend as it really was. Memories of the rehearsal on Friday and actual wedding day on Saturday seem easier to recall when the memories coincide with the actual day. I was eighteen and he had just turned twenty-one. We were so young and yes, very dumb. I’m sure many thought that I was making a mistake, but God knew who my man was behind the mullet and farm boy mentality. God also knew that I needed to see grace in action and He knew that my man was the only one who could be that for me. That’s my man through and through…grace.
Have we gone through rough patches? Oh, yes, horrible patches filled with briars and weeds (many of which we planted ourselves). The only explanation there is for this anniversary is God Himself. He is a true Miracle Worker. You think I’m exaggerating? I’m not and you are just going to have to take my word for it. We have both made incredible mistakes and have come very close to others. We get the statement “but for the grace of God go I” to the fiber of our being. I have no idea how our marriage has kept going except to say that God simply wouldn’t let us stop. I love Him for that.
I always tell people to watch out for year five. It’s a doozy. For me personally, the repercussions from our year five still rears its ugly head at times. I buried specifics from year five all the way to year ten. I had heard a therapist on television say that what your spouse doesn’t know, don’t worry about. He said to stop doing it and move on with your marriage, but why hurt them unnecessarily. So, I took it as a word from God and sought His forgiveness, asked a general forgiveness from my guy and buried it all. My man and I knew that we both had done some awful things, but it was a taboo subject. Neither one of us wanted to deal with it.
A few months before out tenth anniversary I went to a Ladies Bible Study at our church. We studied “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” by Beth Moore. In all honesty, I took the class to see if I could discern who was and wasn’t saved among my family. Yes, I realize how pious that sounds, but it’s the truth. I didn’t take the class as intended, God drug me through that class. I realized very quickly that burying the past was not what God intended. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that what I was hearing was wrong, but it wasn’t. When I knew God truly was telling me to confess to my guy and ask his forgiveness I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that his heart would be prepared to hear it and forgive. We had two small children at the time and very little money, but wouldn’t you know that God arranged for us to have a private cabin on the water for our anniversary night? I knew this was the moment for confession and God’s grace poured out on us. I had prepared him that I needed to come clean so that he wasn’t blind-sided. I was a nervous wreck, but God’s Spirit was with us. It took several days for things to be fully confessed and worked through and several months of recovery with God healing us bone deep, but I remember that I kept praying that God would not let me close my own wound. I wanted Him to clean out the wounds and keep them open until all the infection was out. I was physically ill from the cleaning at times, but that prayer stayed in the forefront of my mind and He was so faithful. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” and our God is the most faithful Friend of all.
I’ve shared with you a small part of my testimony in our marriage to simply demonstrate that things with us have not been easy. I wanted to share so that when I say what I am about to say you won’t just brush it off as a lucky break with two people who always get along and have no problems, or temptations. What do I want to say? Sticking with your marriage is worth it. My man loves me and I love him more deeply than I ever thought possible. He demonstrates grace often (because I need it often) and that kind of depth only comes with time. It only comes with hard work and above all, it only comes with God Himself chiseling off the hard stuff and molding you into the person He has called you to be. We can fake it with a lot of people, but never our spouse and that’s the way it should be. Pray for love to cover your marriage, pray for your desire to only be for your spouse, touch each other often, tell each other what you appreciate about them, spend time together, pray for tenacity and above all pray for God’s Spirit to take over. Pray and stay, people. It’s worth it!
And, to my man, let me just say that I love you more than life itself and more than I ever dreamed possible. Thank you for being a man of grace, wisdom and stength. I admire who you are so much. Happy Anniversary!