Hitting the “share” button on this is scary. Do I share the truth? Or do I only post a beautiful photo of my October wedding nine years ago with some sweet words about how my husband has made marriage easy and how lovable he is? How he completes me and is my better half. How growing old together is all I aspire to do for the rest of my life…
Our wedding day was gorgeous. It was a cold, October day in Wisconsin. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t bitter that the morning of my wedding day it SNOWED and the next Saturday (our second pick for a date) was 75 and sunny. We had buried Tony’s father on Wednesday and got married that very same Saturday. To say it was emotional week was an understatement. It was a tough time in the history of “us”. We were young, we were basically broke, and we were learning how to be parents and husband and wife at the same time.
But this year? Year 9? I will be honest and tell you this year has been one of the more challenging years of all. Sure, there are a lot of contributing factors. This past year we moved far away from the stability of other couple friends and our church family who have supported us for the past almost-decade. This past year the one marriage that has been my shining example of what I thought every marriage should be, has deteriorated after 34 years. Our few weekends a year that we spent ministering through Engaged Encounter has come to a halt in our new season and physical place in life.
People change. Part of being human is to grow and to change. It’s beautiful and necessary, but it’s not exactly easy on two people who have committed to being together for the rest of their lives, to change alongside each other. Having young and busy kids can often shift us from spouse-focused to children-focused lives. Romance often takes second (or third…) place, second to hustle and carpool and keeping up the yardwork.
I recently asked my husband, Tony, if he believes that marriage could be “death by a thousand cuts”. One small dismissal at a time. Each time I choose my wants over his. Every time he chooses work over me. Each little towel left on the floor. Every small meal skipped together. Each time we choose to stare at a screen over each other in bed. Every eye roll. Each silent treatment, no matter how short.
I challenge you and myself in this next year (and always) to keep showing up and choosing love.
Let’s choose our spouse in the small ways. Let’s choose them when we bail on a morning run in favor of coffee together. Let’s choose to not participate when a someone else starts to put down their husband over wine on girls’ night. Let’s choose Netflix on the couch together over squeezing in a couple extra minutes of work at the end of a long day. Let’s choose our spouse (or hell, even sleep) over watching Instagram stories in our beds at night.
I can’t take back or change any of the hurt or harm I’ve caused to my relationship up to this moment. But I can choose love going forward. And we are presented with opportunities to choose everyday.
I know social media can quickly show you the highlight reel of any couple. I know I’ve been quick myself to share about great trips we’ve taken together and adorable date nights. That was much easier than being vulnerable enough to share all of this today.
It’s all true – my highlight reels that sing praises about how Tony is the hardest working, most loyal partner and amazing husband. And somehow it’s also true that nine years of marriage can bring a lot of change and hardship, learning (and sometimes failing at) how to grow and lean into each other instead of turning away.
The real (the hard) stuff doesn’t take away from the good. I choose to believe that the good will outweigh the hard. Much like on October 10th, 2009 — when two young kids were stumbling through hard things and chose each other in spite of it all.
And the only difference between this post, and any other anniversary highlight reel, is that this one will tell you a more honest, well rounded story. And share with you that even now, after 9 years, I will continue to choose the good everyday. I choose the good, I choose love and I choose him.