Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Looking Back on Three Years of Wedded Bliss: Repost in Honor of the Day
In response to a few requests, I am reposting this reflection on my married life so far, in honor of today: Brian's and my three-year anniversary! But, before the repost, a few updates.
First, we received the most beautiful card from my mother. In it, she talked about how the third anniversary, so *they* say, is the first when you begin to understand the staying power (or lack thereof) of your marriage. In other words, the honeymoon is over. Because of this, the traditional anniversary gift in Anglo-Saxon culture is leather, since leather has all the properties of a lasting marriage: it's durable, flexible, and strong. I really liked that sentiment, and appreciated her other thoughts about our marriage as we enter this fourth year together as husband and wife. Though, I'm not sure I agree with *them.* I suppose, I'm recognizing the staying power of our marriage in new ways as we have wrestled with difference of opinion, sleepless nights, miscommunications, a cranky toddler, budgetting finances, and the countless other little struggles that are mixed into the joys of marriage. But, when all's said and done, I'm still not sure the honeymoon's over yet :)
Secondly, I just wanted to say that I was so excited to exchange gifts with Brian this morning. I've been dying to give him his for weeks: a pair of sterling silver cufflinks. My husband likes very minimalist designs, and I never thought it would be so hard to find a simple pair of silver cufflinks--but lo and behold, it's taken me nearly all of three years to finally find a pair! He loved them, and even wore them to work this morning. Even though I was so excited about giving him his gift, I think I may have been even more excited when I opened mine: a small channel-set diamond ring...but not just any ring. In Swedish tradition (I'm not sure about other Scandinavian countries) every woman endeavored to wear three rings: an engagement ring, a wedding band, and a mother's ring. So, my husband informed me that my mother's ring was not just an anniversary gift from him, but also from Sophia, our May Baby, and any subsequent babies. Normally Brian doesn't latch onto these sorts of traditions, and I was surprised to find out how much he liked this one. That, and I just adore my ring! It feels like when I first got my engagement ring--I can't stop staring at it!
But, it's not the presents or even the rare romantic date we're going on tonight that makes our anniversary special. This day is a special time to reflect on our relationship and rejoice in having spent another year learning to be more like Christ as we love each other consciously and sacrificially each day. As I reflect on the past three years, I find my heart overflowing with gratitude to God and to my wonderful husband.
I am grateful for time: For three years that Brian and I have been together with barely a separation, and for the hope of many more such years.
I am grateful for health: It is such a blessing to enjoy married life together in good health during our youth and to be blessed with the health of our children and two healthy pregnancies (at least so far).
I am grateful for children: Psalm 127:3 says "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." Well, as far was we know, we don't have any sons yet, but our beautiful daughter and our baby on the way are truly blessings and rewards from God. What a joy to know the fruitfulness of marriage and to see it manifest in Sophia's joyful face and in the first soft movements of life in my womb.
I am grateful for Brian's job: First, because it is a blessing to have a stable job that one enjoys particularly in these hard times. But, I am grateful, too, that I have a husband who desired from childhood to pursue a career that would enable him to provide for his family. I am grateful that Brian's job lets him keep us as his top priority, and I am grateful that we are able to live comfortably while I remain at home to care for our family.
I am grateful for a home: I am not referring just to the condo in which we live, but to the home that we are building moment by moment and memory by memory as a family. I am grateful for a vision of home life that celebrates the people who dwells in this house, the visitors that enter it, and the God who is Lord of it and of us. I am grateful to be able to care for my home and make it a sanctuary for my family on a daily basis, a place for our marriage to flourish.
I am grateful for forgiveness: Marriage and parenthood are two of the surest ways to teach us that we are sinners. I am grateful for the power Brian and I have to forgive each other in Christ and for the humility we have been granted to seek that forgiveness from each other.
I am grateful for trust: Trust, once broken, is infinitely difficult to mend. I am grateful that my trust in Brian has never been tried. I thank God that He has led my husband to be such an upstanding man, and pray that He continue to guide him in righteousness. I am grateful for the precautions we take in our marriage against infidelity. I am grateful that the perfect love of the Lord drives out all fear of distrust in our hearts as we continue in our married life.
I am grateful for love: Not just for being in love--though I am very happy to say we are still that. I am also grateful for active love, for little acts of loving sacrifice and for large ones, and especially for the love Brian and I are able to give and receive even when it is hard. I am grateful that I have a husband who loves me as it says in Ephesians 5: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies."
I am grateful that after three years of marriage, I can still tell my husband with all my heart that I love him, and that I look forward to loving him truly and faithfully until we are parted by death. And, I am grateful that he tells me the same, in words and actions, every single day.