Last week Stuart and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary. We were blessed to be able to go away for a few days to Lake Pleasant in northern Indiana. We had an amazing time simply relaxing together, reminiscing over the past year, and dreaming of what’s coming in our future…as well as paddle boating, canoeing, fishing and eating some pretty fabulous meals.
This past year has definitely had it’s challenges, (Stuart quitting his steady 9-5 job to join ministry with me, moving in with our parents in order to raise our financial support full time, just to name a few…) but what was encouraging to us both was that, despite those challenges, our second year of marriage was actually easier than our first.
We didn’t live together before getting married, so our first year was all about learning each others quirks, personalities, and day-to-day lifestyles. And I’m not gonna lie…it was tough. I wouldn’t go back and change anything (well, maybe my level of patience…) but it was definitely not what TV and the movies portray.
It wasn’t all roses and romance.
It wasn’t all sweet talk and snuggling.
Those things were definitely a part of it, but there was a lot in between that you never expect to face. This ugly, sinful person comes out in you that you never expect to surface. And you might not like what you see in yourself. But you can’t hide that ugly, sinful person anymore because there’s another person living right next to you, seeing everything you do, and every mistake you make.
I remember when I was single, and my married friends would say that marriage is harder than you expect, that sometimes they miss being single and only being responsible to themselves. I remember thinking, “Um, you’re crazy. You don’t appreciate marriage! When/if I get married, I will always appreciate my husband, and treat him so amazing, and be the most sacrificial wife ever.” Yea, I know right. I thought that. Then I got married. And all of the sudden my ugly, sinful person was out in the open, exposed to Stuart and I couldn’t do anything to hide it.
But you know what, even at times when I thought, “surely he’s going to give up on me this time,” he didn’t. He fought for me. We had to work and fight for our marriage and for each other every day.
Now, I’m not saying this to make it seem like I’m special because I have a husband who fights for me. I’m saying this because it’s amazing knowing that no matter what I do, what mistakes I may make, how badly I may mess up, I have someone who will always love me and fight for me. And although Stuart does a really great job of fighting for me, there’s someone else who fought for me first.
Jesus Christ fought for me when I didn’t even know I needed to be fought for. I have messed up so many times and made so many mistakes in my relationship with Jesus, but time and time again, he fights for me. He reminds me that even when I was still in my messy mistakes, He not only fought for me, He DIED for me. (Romans 5:8) And that nothing I can ever do, no mistake a can ever make, no sin I can ever commit, will ever be bad enough to make Him stop loving me. (Romans 8:38-39)
But needless to say, despite the first year difficulties, our love did survive. (I don’t want to make it sound like everyday was crazy fights, and the bad days outweighed the good days. That was definitely not the case…it’s just harder than you expect, but I think because of those hard days, the good ones are so much sweeter, and once you get through them, your marriage can be stronger than ever.) Stuart and I made it through year one, and then faced a second year where our lives were uprooted and completely turned upside down. (No big deal, right??)
But this time, we knew each other better, knew how the other person worked, and how to approach and respond to each other in a much better way. Not to mention, during our second year, we were BOTH in ministry and working towards the same goal. And although raising support has been one of the most difficult things we have ever done, we’re a team, and it really united us in the best way.
So all in all, our three day anniversary/babymoon trip gave us a lot to celebrate and thank the Lord for. I know the addition of this little babe will bring with it new challenges to our 3rd year of marriage, but because we’ve faced so many changes, and new challenges over the past 2 years, I’m confident we’ll make it through and face it with the Lord as a team. (Hashtag #teamgrandforever anyone??)