We were college sweethearts, among the first of our friends to get married.
I was just 5 days from 22. He was 24. They say youth is a predictor of divorce, of marriages doomed to fail, but I say the success of marriage has nothing to do with youth and everything to do with faith.
Because today, as we mark 15 years of marriage, it’s not been so much about romantic wedded bliss as it’s been about living out our marriage vows day after day. To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward, till death do us part.
15 years of to have and to hold means an arm’s around me as I lie awake worrying in the middle of silent night darkness, long embraces after exhausting and pain-filled days, hands squeezed together hard in labor and delivery rooms where the fruit of love becomes real life x3. It means you promise to lead the way, support through change, and assure “I’d love that for you and our family” when God-sized dreams are uttered in quiet moments of speaking truth.
15 years of to love and to cherish means a kiss every morning before work, no matter what. It’s dancing in the hallway when make-up runs and nipples sting from a blocked duct and a toddler dancing to the iPhone in our bed at 7 a.m. It’s committing to change for the sake of the union, making me feel like I’m the one for you, trusting through trials, and believing, really believing till death do us part is possible.
15 years of for better for worse means Mexico and Hawaii and the Caribbean and five vacations to Disney only to realize it’s been six years since we’ve had more than 24 hours alone, just the two of us. 15 years means 15 Christmases, 15 Easters, 15 birthdays, and 15 anniversaries. 15 years of opinions divided, families split, friends divorced, grandmas and grandpas passed away, and letting go of our time to give them more time.
15 years of for richer or for poorer means beautiful dresses for birthdays, apartments and houses, gazebos and decks, once-in-a-lifetime orange carpet experiences, and jobs that provide. Christmas parties with wine and cheese turn to mac and cheese with hot dogs, piled up medical bills after baby’s born, income that’s less because I’m staying home more, and decisions to live with a little less because we’re giving more.
15 years of in sickness and in health means loving and encouraging when the scale says + 5, +10, +15, waking in the middle of the night to puke-filled beds, cleaning up other kids’ puke at birthday parties, and patience when an 8:30 bedtime means it’s been a hard day at work. It’s a treadmill in the basement for you and seven years of gym membership for me, pizza rolls and potato chips, asparagus and grilled chicken, just two Oreos left in the bag and fruit for dessert tonight. It means you watch the kids while I get away for a moment because I can’t do this anymore.
15 years of from this day forward, till death do us part means we refuse to be another statistic. We’re committed, day after day, to making this work. It means we keep our eyes on the prize, which is, God willing, wrinkled hands held with wedding bands thinned, failing eyes fixed, and “I love you” uttered quietly but assuredly while one of us passes from this life to the next. And once we’ve both passed, from this day forward means our children and grandchildren live in peace, assured beyond all doubt that we’re dancing together in heaven.
Yes. That’s what 15 years looks like, that’s what 15 years believes, that’s what 15 years hopes.
Happy 15th Anniversary to my loving husband, Seth.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13