|'Crown them with Glory and Honor O Lord'|
Ten years on the marriage train.
Take a moment to read that again.
Nearly one third of my life I have been married.
That makes me sounds old. And if all my gray hair doesn't give me away, I guess I am getting older. Older and wiser.
When Lee and I got married ten years ago, most people thought we were absolutely crazy. I mean really, it was a lot. Fresh out of college about to move somewhere where I'd never seemingly use my degree and get married to a guy I had known for a little more than three years. We were different but our appreciation for Eastern Catholicism brought us together and our faith united us. I guess you could say we've happily proved the naysayers wrong for ten years. Love is a funny thing.
I suppose we should have known that marriage was going to be difficult as six months before we were married we had to make a serious decision - one that required a whole lot of soul searching, conversations and tears, It felt like it was the first real decision we made as a couple and it forever changed us for the better - ultimately it opened the door for Lee to be ordained a deacon which is in itself truly amazing.
Ten years ago family and friends filled up the church - which on the day of seemed huge - but when we go back and visit it is really quite small - it was the smallest cathedral until the new one was constructed last year. Everything on the day fell right into place and I think back on that day and how good it was. It was a good day.
There have been so many good days over the past ten years - there are too many to count - I can think of five right off hand. That's not to say marriage has been a cake walk. Marriage is a challenge, but a worthy challenge that at the end of the day is a redeeming challenge that helps us on our way, and hopefully on our way to heaven. Take two people who have never lived together and then let them figure out life for a while and then start to throw in a few kids and it can get interesting. But it can get fulfilling too. More fulfilling then I could ever imagine. I mean, the daily grind of being a wife and mother is no joke but went I sit down and snuggle up with my husband or one of my kids, I cannot imagine my life any better. I love my life, I really do and a huge part of that is allowing God to work in me and through me. Saying, not me God but you. Not me Lee, but you. Not me kids, but y'all.
If you are not completely willing to sacrifice - and cheerfully sacrifice and generously sacrifice - then I would gander to say at best you will be super miserable in marriage and at worst the marriage will not last.
Let me tell you, as a deacon's wife - and a very active deacon, I have learned this the hard way over the past ten years. I have mentioned on several occasions that the Holy Spirit and I were probably in cahoots ten years ago when this whole discerning the diaconate came about - but it also goes back to that tough decision we made about changing churches too. Anyhow, over the years one of the biggest lessons I have learned through these ten years of marriage is how to give cheerfully to support my husband's vocation. That means a varierty of things but includes CHEERFULLY parenting kids through church on Sundays, CHEERFULLY doing the nightly routine without an extra set of hands when those hands are out teaching at Bible Study, CHEERFULLY not keeping score about well you did XYZ so now it is my turn. I'll be the first one to tell you, God is still working on my cheerfulness through it all. But I will say when I am cheerful and generous about something it is reciprocated, that is something we both must practice so that our kids will see us living out a cheerful sacrifice.
So what will the next ten years hold? The Lord for sure only knows. But I can bet it is going to be great. Full of love, full of learning, full of laughs, full of firsts, full of fun.