First of all I just need to say:
No… but really. So good. And it keeps getting better. This summer I noticed the flecks of salt and I told you “Your beard is good” but you didn’t believe me though I meant it. Each fleck of white to me, a part of our story. The moments I let you down or scared you. One for each night you’ve slept on bare boards or barely carpeted floors at churches all over the northwest. One for the wandering sheep your heart is breaking for. Yes. It is telling a story that beard of yours…it is telling our story…our part in the Great Story.
I was out recently with a group of women. We all got married that same summer. It was a blur of tulle, showers and trips to Ikea for PINE FURNITURE and DUVET COVERS. We all longing to look mostly the same (but don’t you dare copy me). Anyways, we were out that night and someone said “sometimes I think I am only still married because I would hate to have to hash out all the logistics again” and someone else responded “not to mention that someone would have to see you naked for the first time again. Ew”. Guess what? Nobody panicked and prepped her for a marital intervention. Only those with a fifteen year old marriage could say such things and know what we mean. It isn’t that we don’t love each other…its just that life is hard and history is complicated and sometimes it is tempting to want to start over with someone who you could convince of your goodness…someone less aware of the flaws you bear. There ain’t much we are hiding. Our flesh bears all our mutual wounds…
Once upon a time when we were just babies, and thought we knew what becoming one flesh would mean we stood up and made magnificent vows. We could not know what we were saying, what a stretch it would be, how we would be marked and scarred by each other, by the dreams God gave us.
I was running on the treadmill today (I mostly just wanted to tell someone that) our wedding photos and our vows are hanging above me and I got to thinking. Thinking how I’m trying to run off the stomach that grew to house our babies. The few we never got to hold and the ones we’ll hold forever. I’m running off the pure white carbs we ate for ten straight summers on the shores of Shuwap, as we built something beautiful together. I’m running off that celebratory beverage. Somehow we found a way to celebrate a Tuesday….it is my favorite thing about you, the way you find a way to see the good in most everything…even me.
My flesh bears our story too (but don’t worry I will keep running).
We are passing our mid thirties now, closing in on 15 years marriage, 20 years since our first date. We’ve been knitting our lives for longer than we were knit into separate entities. The truth is DNA mixing is messy though, flesh of my flesh.
But don’t you know? There are more stories to tell. There is more great ministry to pour from our flesh being stretched, our bones aching weary. There is more supernatural strength for us to walk in. There is more hope for this world and the redeeming work of God in our marriage can be that. Our home can be a place that people can gather from cold realities and feel just a few moments of warmth.
We’ve seen a wide swath of what the world could toss at us, both the high and the low. It is terrifying and thrilling to think of what else our reality might need to stretch to include. There is no one I could do this life with but you.
And when we are old and you are more gray and (lets just be real) I am just a tiny bit chubbier we will curl up on the couch, our story told, our ministry to each other just beginning, and…
(Linking with Amber and friends believing that telling the story of how marriage is hard-but-worth-it will help others coming up behind us to go hard after their marriages too)
And if you are looking for more of my marriage letters you can find them here