Twenty years..... that's equal to 240 months.....
7, 285 days.
This man.... he holds my whole heart and has done so for more than half my life.
Here I am-- 40 years old, having spent half my life with this man and eager to spend the entire rest of it right beside him, come what may.
And it always comes.
The not so good.
And the pretty much down right awful
No matter what, I'm willing.
I was four months into twenty and thought I knew exactly what I wanted in life: This man and a life made with him.
I was so full of it. Full of excitement, full of love, full of self-importance, full of hope, full of wide-eyed wonder at building a real life with him and eyes full shut to any trouble that could be ahead.
I was so full of it.
Good thing God was full in it.
And I'm so glad He has been... in the midst of all this. In the midst of us.
God has been and continues to be so very good to us.
He also knew what He was doing when He brought the two of us together.
Especially since I wasn't very interested in the beginning.....
Oh, you heard that right. My Mister, he fell in love first and I took my time catching up. It's part of the story and maybe I'll tell it some day but not right now.
That man he pursued me-- with a quietness, a patience and perseverance I've never quite seen the like of in another.
He wooed me with his thoughtfulness, directness and loving actions. He loved on my family and spent time with them as well as with me.
It is, in part, because of my husband that I've grown in my understanding of Christ.
Because he embraced his role and took this specific tidbit right here to heart-- He has always strove to love me and has spent the past twenty years loving me- as Christ loves the church. That is my man's secret to a happy marriage.
I can now clearly see where Christ has pursued me with his quietness, patience and perseverance. How He has wooed me with his thoughtfulness, directness and loving actions.
I know a small bit of what it means to be the bride of Christ because He gifted me to be the bride of this man.
I'm so very thankful He didn't give me what I wanted but instead anticipated what I'd need. Whew.
My Man and I.... we've been through some stuff. Some we've created all on our own and some that has just plain happened. I am thankful for this Steady Man of mine who has loved the Lord with his whole heart much longer than he's loved me. When I finally stopped trying to pull us forward and decided to follow his lead- life became so much easier and happier. My husband is a quiet, thoughtful man, who when he decides to take action, has thought it all out and then some. He plans ahead and never does anything half way. He always has- even in his love for me. He says he fell in love with me, planned ahead and waited. Waited for me to catch up. His stalwart belief in God and strong faith have been a cornerstone in our marriage.
Often you will hear people say, "I married my best friend." For me that isn't truth. He wasn't my best friend when we married because I was too full of my own self and concerned with maintaining my independence and equality in our marriage.
But ask me now and I'll tell you this truth: This man is my very best friend. He knows everything there is to know about me, has seen me at my worst, experienced my morning breath, dealt with my night owl habits, knows my favorite cravings and knows just how medium well I like my steak. He knows the spot where I'm ticklish and has traced my scar that I wear from two of our three children with such love and tenderness that it undoes me.
He doesn't buy me roses but will stop along the roadside and pick me wild flowers just because. His doesn't buy me fancy chocolates but plants and cares for a garden for months and months because he knows I love it. He doesn't take me out on weekly dates but works alongside me to renovate our house and buys the fancier light fixture because it's the one I adore. He doesn't write me poetry but instead writes B+A in the fog of the bathroom mirror or scrawls "Be Beautiful" on my To Do list....
He doesn't write me love songs or make me mixes of our love songs but when the song we danced to at our wedding comes on while we're in the kitchen cooking and the kids are right there with us, he'll grab me close and dance me around while looking right into my eyes and singing the words right to me. And as we dance, he'll kiss the top of my head and at the end.... he'll dip me. Just because he can. And while the kids guffaw and shield their eyes- we notice their smiles and when the song's all done and we're back to making dinner together, they know for certain that we love each other like crazy.
And that is the same love we want for each of them and their future mates.....
To be each other's best friend and closest confidante. To know that real romance isn't roses or chocolates or poetry but the daily sacrificing of your own needs for someone else. It's when he serves me the bigger piece of meat at dinner and I cut him the largest slice of pie. It's when he puts my towel in the dryer while I'm in the shower and when I sneak his favorite cookies and a note in his lunch box. It's when he leaves his morning devotional cracked open on the table for me to read and when I pour over my prayers for my husband prayer cards when I get up each morning. It's him letting me sleep in and me using a flashlight to read at night so he can sleep. It's him watching the chick flick and me watching that action flick. It's him turning up the heat in the schoolroom when he leaves for work and me shoveling a path for him when it's snowed while he's gone. It's him always being the one to fill the car with gas and me buying car parts that I know nothing about.
It's in the fact that I can't sleep well without him snoring next to me and how he tolerates me elbowing him when the snoring's too much. It's that wink he gives me from across a crowded room and the way my heart charts a new rhythm each time because of it. It's in the feel of his hand in mine and how I know how he earned each rough callous and scar.
I didn't know what the reality of love was twenty years ago and was probably lining it up much more with romance- the flowers and chocolates kind. I wasn't thinking of what twenty years of real marriage, where we've tested and lived out the reality and strength of our vows, would be.I look at those photos of us and shake my head- Girl, you were all about having a beautiful wedding and you didn't have a clue as to how to have a real, beautiful marriage.
And therein lies the difference. Because this girl right here, the one who's twenty years older.... she knows the precious value of having a beautiful marriage.
She lives it.
And she treasures it immensely.
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