It’s been almost three years (just a few days to go) since we joined our lives together, him and me.
I know to some of you veterans, three years seems like such a short time. He reminds me fairly often we are still little – we are just toddlers in the scheme of things. But when you look at the seconds – well they really have added up, right?
3 years = 1095 days approximately
156 weeks and 3 days
We have managed to pack a fair bit into that time really.
We started out in a different spot to most, we came to our marriage each with offspring, each with wounds and scars from a previous marriage. I think if we are honest about it we both had a list of things to avoid, things to do, things not to do, things to do better, things to keep an eye out for, things to …. the list of lists goes on. I guess everyone comes to marriage with expectations.
As second timers we’ve both kind of been this way before, and because of that we have both known that if this relationship is to mirror the relationship of the Christ and the church then there will be no room for self, self-preservation, selfishness, self-pleasing, self satisfaction, self righteousness or love of self above the other.
We are both learning through this union — this I know to be true.
I know that there are times that I have walked down paths in our three years have been travelled too often… paths I need to block off. I know that the draw of the patterns and behaviours of the past and the oh-so-easy and familiar is being overpowered by the draw of the better, the future, the new. Thankfully, we are, both of us, a testament to what God can do, how He can make something new. How He can change hearts and lives and bring them in line with His own will and purposes. We both know this to be true of ourselves and each other. But he and I still need more grace, grace to be brave, grace to step out together and grace to travel the paths we’ve not yet walked. We need grace, strength and courage to take steps that lead to places we’ve never been.
What I have learnt is that marriage is one of the most difficult relationships to “do”. It is not for the faint-hearted, you can rest assured that any issues you as an individual have are going to be placed under a magnifying glass or microscope, if you prefer. There’s no relationship quite like it for highlighting your shortcomings and there is nothing quite like the pain that comes with love.
“The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.”
Tim Keller – The Meaning of Marriage
As second timers we know that the statistics are not in our favour, thanks to those who have pointed that out!! But the thing I’m most thankful for in this second time round marriage is that we have at our centre, the God of the universe, the Author of love and peace as the tie that binds us together. The third One in the threefold cord that cannot easily be broken. The One who makes two into one. The One who gives grace to him so that he can love me in my unloveable moments, and the One who gives him a supernatural quantity of love to bestow upon me.
We’ve had people level their best, and worst, at us because we have endeavoured to put each other second after God. Previous relationships have put massive demands on us – people have tantrumed at us, about us, to us and our new priorities. We have even been told that we should not have new priorities.
Thank you for showing them and me that when it comes to marriage and this tie that binds us — we matter more.
So, yes man, that last one was for you, my one. I know you are reading this – hopefully you’ve got to this point – it’s a bit rambly today, sorry about that. I blame the rambly-ness ( a word I made up) on the fact that you didn’t get to proof read this post for me.
But in true Words of Affirmation style and as publicly as this introvert can, I must say to you; I am incredibly proud of who you are, who have become, who you are becoming. I am so thankful for who you have been to me and who you have been to my boy.
Thank you for loving me through my self-centered-ness, self-pitying, self-loathing, self-righteousness, self-satisfacted-ness (another word I made up – see what happens when you don’t proof read my stuff!!), my self-absorption, selfishness and even in my self-preservation. You do it all beautifully – even when I won’t let you.
Thank you for coming close on the occasions that I’ve tried with all my considerable might to push you away.
Thank you for your gentleness with me when I’ve raged against you and all that is good. Thank you for your patience with me when I’ve roared, rank at you.
Thank you for your Christ-like gentleness when I attempt to rile you.
Thank you for your perseverance and your willingness to be close to me when that rage and roaring rushes out of me like a torrent.
Thank you, that on days when I have raged, somehow you found a way through it all to get to me and to love me better than I deserve.
Thank you for being my best friend.
Thank you for giving and forgiving.
Thank you for the love you have demonstrated that overlooks past wrongs and hurts and thank you for believing the words of Tim Keller below to be true of me.
“Within this Christian vision for marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!'” Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel. Each spouse then should give him- or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other presented in spotless beauty and glory.”
Tim Keller – The Meaning of Marriage
While the past three years have been painful at times they have been infinitely more joyful than painful. For me, there is only one thing more beautiful than the prospect of us growing old together, and that is seeing you at His throne as you were designed to be.
I’m sorry I know we’ve talked about this, but I’ve already set it up with God – I’m going first. We’ll do it Johnny and June style – and I’ll be June (my hair is more like hers) and I’ll be waiting for you on the far side of the Jordan. (If that kind of thing is allowed over there.)
Happy 3rd Anniversary