This past weekend Alex and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.
Our actual anniversary wasn’t until yesterday, Oct. 12, but we figured we’d make a weekend out of it and celebrate a few days early just because. Amid our weekend getaway there was an outdoor adventure. There was wine (an old fashioned for him). There was a couple’s massage. There was a two-foot-tall Lindt chocolate bar. There were plenty of kisses. But there were also lots of tears and tissues.
My man had reserved a room on the top floor of the Ivy Hotel in Minneapolis in celebration of our special day. The room had everything a girl could ever want: complimentary chocolate, plush pillows, cozy slippers, huge bath robes, a spacious master bath and a stunning view of the city. Everything was perfect — until suddenly it wasn’t. Around 10 p.m. on Saturday night I started to feel sick, and I ended up spending the rest of the night tossing and turning from stomach issues.
Needless to say I was not the most pleasant person come sunrise the next morning. But I wasn’t just unpleasant. I was frustrated with the entire situation. After laying in bed for two hours waiting for Alex to get up, I reached for a handful of nuts to soothe my grumbling stomach until we could go get breakfast.
“Why are you eating? We are going to go get breakfast soon,” Alex stirred as I opened the bag of cashews.
I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or the hunger, but at the sound of his voice something snapped within me.
“Excuse me? I’ve been up for two hours waiting for you so we could go eat breakfast. I’m starving. I didn’t sleep at all last night and I haven’t been sleeping well over the last several days. I also feel nauseous like I’m going to throw up and my stomach is bloated and irritated. Don’t you care about me at all?” I yelled and started to cry. I was upset because I felt like I had ruined our special weekend. I was upset because the past month had been a whirlwind of change and stress for us. And I was also upset because even though my husband had planned this amazing surprise for me, I wasn’t enjoying myself anymore.
My anger turned to deep sadness as I turned to look into my husband’s eyes. The expression on his face was like a knife to my gut, and I instantly felt ashamed and sorry for what I had said.
“How can you say I don’t care about you?” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “This whole weekend … it was all for you. Everything I do … it’s all for you. I love you!”
Have you ever said something you wish you could take back? I sure have. Too many times to count, and unfortunately more times than I’d like to admit to my husband. What I’ve learned from our first year of marriage is that when you mess up, it’s important to take immediate responsibility, apologize and ask for forgiveness.
I ran over to Alex, apologized and asked him to forgive me. By this point we were both crying — huddled together on the floor surrounded by a bunch of wadded up tissues.
“I’m sorry. I guess I just feel like with my fibromyalgia and all of my other health issues, sometimes I’m more of a burden than a joy to be around. I feel like I’m always ruining things,” I explained.
“You don’t ruin things, my love. And you’re worth all this and so much more to me,” he said, pointing to the surrounding room.
Looking back on our weekend celebration, I’m amazed at how closely it resembles our first year of marriage — a beautiful time marked by kisses, tissues and adventures. A time full of learning and growing together.
If there’s one thing I’m sure of after our first year of marriage, it’s that when the Bible says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) — the Bible couldn’t be closer to the truth.
Alex and I try to live 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 out on a daily basis, and we’ve started to notice that when love is lived out this way in marriage there is nothing Satan can do to try and tear it down. Alex and I are not newbies to pain and suffering. We’ve probably seen more of it in our first year of marriage than many people see in their first 5-10 years. But these experiences and our commitment to love each other while keeping Christ at the center has made us a stronger, happier and healthier couple.
Marriage isn’t perfect. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies either. It’s kisses on a tear-stained cheek. It’s holding hands while navigating adventures (some wonderful and some treacherous). It’s being an adult even when you don’t want to be. It’s drowning out the noise of the world around you to focus on the needs of another human being. It’s sacrifice.
You will make mistakes. You will say things you wish you could take back. You will want to go back to being teenagers when they only responsibility you had was to be a good student athlete.
But to date, marriage is also the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I thank God for the blessing and love of Alex every single day.
Are you married? What has marriage taught you? Share in the comments below!
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