Marriage is a dance. A battlefield. A rock of refuge. A rollercoaster. Ryan says, a primary means of sanctification. I say, more than anything else a learning curve.
I’ve been married nine years next month.
“[Nine years] is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits. I know less than half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
A lot happens in nine years, a boatload of light and darkness.
We love each other more now, my man and I, but it’s changed too. The training wheels of initial infatuation age and break off, the habit of love holds you upright.
He has to forgive me for being—and not being—the woman he married, and I have to forgive him for being such a Zook.
He learns to eat grilled cheese sandwiches with jam like a Coblentz (a seven-year process of acclimation, at least). I learn to cook his mother’s best dishes (and still pout when he requests them, and he lies that I make them better).
We learn that our families, beyond their surface similarities, had some glaring irreconcilable differences in philosophy, and we must find a middle road to walk together.
He learns The Ten Best Ways to Comfort an Angry Woman without Losing Your Hide. I learn What to Do When He’s in His Cave and Won’t Come Out.
He learns to let me try my wings, encouraging me in areas of interest he does not share. I learn that he is not an extension of me, that letting him move into the world, and try and fail and conquer, is one of my greatest gifts to him.
He learns how jealous I am, how easily pierced. I learn how faithless I am, how easily deceived. We learn the vulnerability of our Shining Barrier, how we cannot hold our love together. We learn forgiveness, grace, humility. We learn to put all our eggs in this one basket.
Our love becomes patchwork—a thousand crazy-quilt memories, some bright, some black, stitched all together, and the rents darned stronger than before.
A lot happens in nine years.
We learn to be thankful we didn’t know the whole story ahead of time—how could we have found the courage to start? We learn to be thankful for vows made before God and these witnesses—strong cables pulling us through the times when if we’d been dating it would have been the end of the road. We learn to be thankful for joy, for the bright sun rising, for the hundred thousand good times. We learn to eat the bread of marriage—the daily nourishment and companionship, the sleeping close and the quiet welcome-home kisses.
He learns to cherish. Again. And again. I learn to reverence. Again, and all over again.
A lot, a lot happens in nine years. Thank you, Jesus.