Erik and I are twenty-five years married today and I find myself so damn proud of our accomplishment—not at all in spite of our story, how we nearly lost everything dear over nothing special, but specifically because of our struggle and our success to date in moving past it.
On this date twenty-five years ago, I believed I was marrying this man because I loved him. What I now know to be true is that I married this man in order to learn how to love.
Back when we exchanged our easy to make but hard to keep vows, I didn’t yet know or understand how to truly love my husband.
Nor did I comprehend the full weight and meaning of the intentions we declared toward each other. There was simply no way to, as a wedding is not a marriage. Not even close.
Today, I know how to love the way love was intended—without conditions and for no reason. I’m finally getting quite good at loving this way, twenty-five years in. And so is he.
Sometimes I think we’re together still today because we haven’t yet wanted to get divorced at the same time.
And while there is absolutely the luck of that timing, there is also that we’ve learned—via the hardest of hard ways—to give each other our first and our best. Thanks to the power and grace of God to habitually nudge us toward forgiveness and away from our often very selfish tendencies and desires.
I’ve fallen in and out of what I used to think was love with this man 100 times by now, and he with me, as well—as such, we’ve come to know for certain those fickle feelings of ours can’t hold a candle to the flamethrower of love in action, by choice, on purpose.
We’re still married today because we do this dance together—we forgive each other our humanness and then we forge on, forever and again repeating this clumsy marital two-step.
Sometimes we’re perfectly in sync, rendering our union beautiful and joyous to behold. While at other moments, we’re one or the other or both, a beat or two off. And then it’s beautiful and joyous to behold the way we’ll one or the other or both labor to help us find our way back in step together.
Marriage is the commitment to keep dancing with each other this way—loving one another even if the compelling urge to do so fades.
It’s the decision to diligently live out your vows, even if you don’t always want to. It’s the realization that however you come to define love, love won’t always be as easy as it once was, but even so, love can become as meaningful and intentional, as appreciated and protected, as respectful and of the heavens as it will ever be.
Twenty-five years ago today, because we haphazardly fell in love, this man and I began the marriage-long process of learning precisely, even if not concisely, how to stand firmly together in love, instead—beautifully, joyously, and happily oftentimes after.
I’m able to celebrate my marriage story with you today because I decided to write about it back when it felt anything but celebratory.
With the help of my favorite writers group on the planet, hope*writers, I then learned how to to share my story far and wide. For the gift of being able to recognize our own story inside of someone else’s allows us to feel more at home in our heart, mind, and relationships.
A few times a year, hope*writers opens their doors to new members—to any stage of writer looking for connection, community, and verified know-how within the world of publishing.
To date, hope*writers is still the only entity I’ve ever partnered with. I don’t use this space to post ads for clicks or to sell you random products or hype stuff none of us need. So please trust me when I tell you that I continue to promote hope*writers because I believe in their mission down to my core and I want more of us to be brave and bold with the details of our lives that work to rescue those mired in their own minutiae. Or even better, their seemingly too monumental to be surmountable.
If you invest any anything this year, I hope you’ll finally choose to invest in you.
You’re worth it. And so is your story—the story the world needs to hear, the story that will help us all feel more at home with our own.