16 Years

This week marked my 16th wedding anniversary to the Chief. We have now been married long enough for my memories with him to eclipse the memories of my childhood. That wasn't too difficult since I was only 19 when we married, but still, I think 16 is pretty wonderful.

My parents divorced when I was three years old. Instead of causing me to fear marriage, it had the opposite effect of making me a champion of unbreakable marriages. As a young adult, I made the decision to fully commit myself to my Catholic faith and the teachings of the Church; her teachings on the indissolubility of marriage struck a strong and resounding chord within my soul. I was young getting married. Largely clueless about pretty much everything. But I knew that it was for keeps. Divorce hurts men, women, and children. That truth had been burned into my heart through experience and I knew (if nothing else) that my own marriage was forever.

There have been moments when I've wanted to run and keep on running. The pain of wounding and being wounded by the one united to me body and soul... that pain is intense. To allow oneself to be completely vulnerable to another human being is a risk that will always involve suffering love. To be responsible for the pain of the beloved is almost unbearable. In those rare moments when my head has screamed run! my heart, rooted in Christ, clings to Love.

I wasn't ready to be married at age 19 and yet there was no better time. Life is short. I had come to the Lord on my knees, begging Him to transform me and make me His own. He opened the door to my vocation, my path to sanctification, and His ways have been marvelous indeed.  I have been a terrible spouse at many points in my marriage. My poor husband must have questioned his decision to marry me many times over the years, particularly at the beginning when I fought to work through my childishness.  And yet, the fruits have born witness to God's faithfulness. We trusted and He has blessed.

I love my husband with an intensity that has only grown over the past 16 years. The joy and suffering go hand in hand. The joy is higher, the suffering deeper. When we are united in mind, heart, and body, there are no happier moments. When we are suffering a lack of unity, it is as if the heart is dying. The depth of pain seems commensurate with the depth of love. In those moments, we independently cling to the Lord, Who faithfully brings us to each other again.

I am continually surprised by the level of sacrifice that my handsome Chief offers to his family. He mentors me in this way. I see how he fights on and on in love for us and it inspires me to get up and move for love of God and family. See what he does for you? See how he loves? Gratitude compels me to respond in kind. Or at least try a little harder.

I never dreamed that life could be so good and beautiful. I could not imagine it any more fulfilling or sweet. When the hard times come, I see the Crucifix and I know that Jesus allows it and blesses it and that His grace is sufficient.

Life is short. God has placed me here. There is nowhere that I would rather be.

The Chief and I went on a Walmart date this past week. He sang loudly in the candy aisle and I laughed at him and felt happy to be alive. I put my cold hands on his warm arm and he repaid me in kind by finding items in the frozen food section to offer me a shockingly cold payback. He heard the piped in music and took me in his arms to dance even though we are lousy dancers. We inspected bananas together and discussed chicken. I looked over trinkets and he reminded me that it can be the little purchases that drive us over budget. I felt young and old, in love, sleepy, and alive... in the middle of Walmart, late at night with my beloved.

I have no doubt that suffering will come to us many times in life but I thank God for every moment that draws our hearts closer to Him through this vocation. Each step is lifted by grace. God be praised!

Summer 1996 - Wedding Shower. Reluctant participant hands over the bows.

July 27, 1996 - Wedding Day

August 2008 Baby Jellybean - Happy Dad

July 2002 At the Zoo

December 2000 - I remember arguing that day with him and having a hard time mustering the courage to smile. It's funny how time swallowed up that moment and refuses to negatively color my memory. The details and emotions are forgotten, covered over in an ocean of joy and mercy. 

July 2011 - Coaching at the U.S. Junior Nationals

July 4th, 2012 

Related posts:

Dreams Redeemed
He Washed My Feet: My Love Story
My engagement: In the Shadow of the Risen Christ
10 Facts about me and my Guy
Feminine Genius
"A Defense of Rash Vows"

Posted on July 30, 2012 and filed under "anniversary", "marriage".