Well hello there…what do you know another anniversary. 🙂 This one is my 7th wedding anniversary and if my Facebook feed is any indication there are many people in my life that share a similar anniversary. I see a smiling photo or a throw back from the wedding day with a caption stating something along the lines of:
___ years ago I married the love of my life, I am so thankful for the many wonderful years. You are my best friend, my confidant, my rock. You are humble, incredible, amazing and I look forward to the rest of our life together.
They are obviously not all the same but you get the idea of the sentiment.
I am glad there are marriages out there that can make this claim. I can’t in good conscious write those words because it would not be true. We haven’t lived 7 blissful years. In fact at times it’s been a down right struggle. If I’m brutally honest with myself I know part of me got married because I was afraid of being alone (I find this incredibly ironic now). I was afraid I would never be loved. Jonathan had similar fears around being fully known and rejected. We were both operating from a very wounded place and these fears orchestrated a dance between us of control and escapism. We had good moments and a many fun adventures but for a long time our marriage didn’t bring life to either one of us. In fact it brought more loneliness, frustration and pain.
I was ashamed of the reality of our marriage. I wanted it to be better and I felt like I was failing. It was a very hard place to accept because, generally, I work extremely hard to not fail. I went into our marriage knowing it was work…I was able and willing to work hard…but was it supposed to be this much work?? Was it supposed to be this hard?
3.5 years ago I found myself stuck in the Netherlands in a dead marriage with no good practical options to change my situation…but I was done. I didn’t necessarily want a divorce but I didn’t see any other options. I was apathetic, disengaged and ready to throw in the towel…it just wasn’t working and I felt like we both deserved better.
God was consistently working on my heart and renewed my HOPE that He was the other option. He was my only option. He could really could break into this “hopeless” situation and establish a NEW marriage. It wasn’t a lost cause but I couldn’t do it…He needed to. This is the HOPE I claimed to believe and it was now time to step out in faith. I tried really hard for a really long time and got nowhere.
So, I let go and trusted that God would show up. That He would move this mountain. And boy did He ever but it took cancer…and separation…and 3.5 years of extremely painful cleansing and healing. Facing demons and allowing grace to rebuild and restore. (Side note: it’s not in my theology that God GAVE me cancer…but boy did He use it as a tremendous refining season in my life)
And even though I have been married to the same man for 7 years, I have the beginnings of a new marriage. It feels strange to write that because there were many moments I didn’t think it was possible. I wasn’t sure if people and circumstances could really change. These are lies that keep us stuck. And God doesn’t want us stuck…he wants us free.
And, honestly, my heart is the most free it has ever been. And I am extremely thankful.
So here is my version of the anniversary Facebook post:
Jonathan, 7 years ago we had no idea what we were in for. We have hung on and fought through heart wrenching years where most people would have given up…clinging to fingernails of hope and faith that God can move mountains. I can honestly say I am more free and happy for it but it was (and still is at times) an extremely difficult season. While I don’t like where we started, I truly love the trajectory we are on now and hope it continues for the rest of our lives. Our marriage has the beginning of a new foundation built on faith, honesty and intimacy. I have complete respect for the man you are and are becoming. Your kindness and generosity towards others. Your humility in the healing process. And your perseverance in allowing God to bring greater levels of freedom in your heart and in our marriage. Your playfulness and silliness helps keep my heart young. I am extremely thankful we are still together and that God really does work miracles. I am also thankful I can write these words from an honest heart place. Happy Anniversary, I love you, but sure would appreciate it if the next 7 years are a bit more peaceful. 😉