The lyrics to one of my favorite songs came to life in my heart the other day, hitting me in the face like a cold bucket of water.
Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.
I’ve sung these lyrics countless times over the past year, but it was in this moment of singing when I realized God had answered me. Taken aback at His understanding of my life and heart, I had been praying this, singing this, and the Lord had actually placed me where I’m daily searching for borders to rest my trust on and in water without shore or sand anywhere in sight. I’ve been swimming for a while and I didn’t see it.
Yesterday was our three year anniversary. Our third year was full, abundant in memories and trial. Unlike our first year where trials were many, but had to be dealt with individually and year two where we experienced so many new memories and adventures and grace, our third year has given us new companionship. Calming down after year two, we settled into reality, or rather, reality settled into us. Something happened this year where we learned a deeper knowing of each other. Accepting faults seemed easier and our ability to read each other became natural. The overhanging hint of desiring to please each other was replaced by freedom to let patience and delight win over our expectations and desires.
We became partners this year. Not that we weren’t, but the healing from year one and the fun from year two gave us perspective into handling whatever life gave us, together.
Working in ministry with young women and having a handful of single friends, I always hear their desire to get married because then life will be amazing and full. My heart (and hopefully not my face) aches every time I hear that. The hidden message of culture and media beg you to believe that once you’re married, life is easier and good and romantic all the time. I don’t want to be a part of that system. In the midst of my posting to Facebook or Instagram, I walk the line where half of me wants to portray a life of ease and satisfaction and the other half fears that you will assume something about our life or time and be prone to compare while looking at our pictures.
Because, although marriage is beautiful and wonderful, I’ve learned time and time again that marriage isn’t a fix all.
It doesn’t fix jealousy. Within marriage, we still compare and find insecurity, it’s just shifted. Jealousy enters a new realm and just because I go home to a husband after work, doesn’t mean I wasn’t just comparing my story to yours. I experience jealousy daily of something that is within my reach.
Marriage doesn’t fix loneliness. Loneliness isn’t a physical condition as much as it is one of our heart’s needs. My husband will never fully understand how I think and feel and process and work and vice versa. I think that’s beautiful, unless I’m stuck expecting him to perfectly do so. I can be sitting in the comfort of Kyle’s arms and still feel lonely. I can love him and miss being single in the same breath. I need more than my husband in my life, I think that’s human of me.
Marriage doesn’t magically make your relationships with the Lord the same. This has been a year of questions. From ministry to money to our home to each other to our future family, we haven’t stopped asking the Lord for wisdom. As God has answered us or has delayed on answers or has chosen to give only one of us peace, I’ve learned how different my relationship with Him is compared to that of Kyle’s. We pursue the Lord and desire to grow with Him, yes, but we learn, see, and hear completely differently. I love and hate it.
Marriage doesn’t fix your unstable finances.
Marriage doesn’t fix your tendency to procrastinate and fear.
Marriage doesn’t give you abundant grace or power.
Marriage doesn’t build you up without breaking you first.
Marriage doesn’t make hurt feelings easier to handle.
Marriage doesn’t look picture perfect, the best moments actually can’t be captured.
Marriage doesn’t provide constant understanding.
Marriage doesn’t give complete contentment.
It does, however, offer you Jesus at His finest. And grace, lots of uncomfortable grace.
Marriage asks you to be creative. Create romance and love and new perspectives. Fight for spontaneous joy. Get back to the simple luxuries that made you fall in love instead of expect more from each other. Ask new questions, deeper questions that might hurt to hear. Find new hobbies instead of forcing old ones to click again. Constantly fight to see the best in your changing spouse. Let small moments be the big moments to remember. Create space to breathe and rest with each other. Create less Pinterest and picture worthy moments and more authentic moments. And so much more.
So, to my sweet man,
This year built companionship in us because marriage didn’t fix our issues and make us perfect. Together, we’ve learned how to meet each other’s needs before wants. We’ve experienced really good and really hard. And, today, we’re still in a place of trusting in an ocean deeper than we could imagine with some pretty big adventures ahead of us in year four.
And, you’re worth it all.