I posted on FB yesterday that nine years ago I emailed Greg to tell him that I would date him starting in our spring semester (we had just returned from our fall semester abroad to Chile). He was on his way out the door with friends to see one of the LOTR movies. This anniversary, we went to see The Hobbitt in the theater here. Isn’t it funny how things come full circle sometimes?
Eight years. I say this every anniversary… we have grown so much in these eight years. I think the major thing for me this year, though, is defining what we do share as a married couple and what it takes to really build a long lasting happy marriage. I believed in fairytale love, but it is becoming evident to me that fairytale love is not what lasting love is built on. I have always said that Greg and I built our relationship on Christ (we don’t have a whole lot in common), but it wasn’t until this year that I really grasped that fact. You see, I get why marriage is hard. We have had rough times, and there will still be rough times ahead. Times of difficulty. Times of grieving. Times that just aren’t happy. We fight, we disagree, we get on each others’ nerves, we speak disrespectfully to each other, we sometimes don’t understand each other. But on the flip side of that, we have times where we are totally in love with each other, times of PDA ;-), times where we just want some alone time together, times when we can’t wait to do something together. It isn’t that we don’t share times of “fairytale love,” it’s that our marriage doesn’t always demonstrate the perfect love connection we are told about through romance novels and chick flick movies. And when we aren’t that season for birds to be singing above us, or when our hearts aren’t pitter-pattering for each other, where does REAL LOVE come from? God is love. He teaches us to submit to one another, to LOVE one another, to respect one another. And as long as I have heard that, I don’t really think that I fully grasped the concept for my marriage until this past year.
It always kind of bothered me just a little bit when I read Jesus’ teaching about the resurrection and what part marriage will play in it. He says marriage won’t exist. If I had to define “my heaven” it would definitely include my husband, and I just really don’t like what Jesus has to say about that thought. But really, what is important? Christ’s kingdom and my decision to live out his purpose in that kingdom are what are important. I trust that when all is complete and made whole by Jesus’s return, I won’t be whining about not getting my perfect version of heaven. So how does my marriage play out in living out God’s purpose in this time? Through sharing the journey of God’s mission with my spouse, and living every day to try and honor him as Christ honors me. Because we are Christians, he can call me out when I am not honoring him with Christlike love. I can call him out when he is not honoring me with Christlike love. That, to me, makes all the difference in the world. When the world says, “You just aren’t compatible anymore. People change. You once loved each other, but now it’s okay to move on and find someone else who fits better as your ‘soul mate,'” we can disagree as Christians. Anyone who has stuck it out in marriage can see the truth in this teaching from the world. But this isn’t the teaching of Christ, and Christ has a way of taking the world’s teachings and turning them completely upside down. You love your spouse when you are a Christ-follower because you are demonstrating the love of Christ, and that NEVER changes. Ever. Period.
Greg McKinzie, I love you. We have had quite a journey up to this point. We have shared many experiences that I smile on and that I also frown on. But through it all, it is my prayer that I continue to learn to love you better as a Christian wife. We are far from perfect, but thank you for trying to love me in a way that is Christ honoring. Thank you for striving to be a father that exemplifies Christ-like qualities to our children. Thank you for openly loving and respecting me in front of our children so that we can be a positive example of a Christian marriage for their lives. Thank you for saying sorry when you mess up and showing humility when we may not understand each other. You are my partner in the gospel. And I pray that God will bless this marriage for the ultimate purpose of his kingdom work in the here and now. Here is to many more, my love…