Monday, May 20, 2013

I said "I do " ...again

     My 17th wedding anniversary was this past Saturday. Most days I cannot believe that 17 years have passed since I married my husband. Other days I feel every single moment. We have survived two babies, 3 moves, more vehicles than I care to count, bad jobs, a 14 month deployment, and many mistakes. Real world marriage rarely resembles a fairy tale. I may have found my prince charming. We may indeed live ever after but the happily part is harder than it looks in books and on the big screen.
     Scattered in among the happiness has come anger, disappointment, and hurt. Those moments aren't the ones that we want to live in our memories forever. However, it's those moments that God, in his infinite wisdom, used to make our marriage stronger. It's those moments that after they are over have made me love my husband that much more. It's those moments that have made me appreciate the happy ones. I loved my husband the day I married him and didn't think it possible that I could ever love him more. Yet, I continue to fall in love with him over and over again. I am not sure if it's despite what we have been through or because of it. 
     At the very end of 2011 Eric and I discussed renewing our vows in 2012. Life got in the way , months passed and it just didn't get planned. Looking back , I can see that it wasn't just busy lives or laziness that kept the planning from taking place. It was God. I guess God had to make sure we were strong enough to weather the next 17 years before allowing us to take that plunge again, so He tested us. In retrospect almost the entire year was a gigantic test, not just a test of our marriage but a test of my faith.In fact I believe the last 4 years or so has been strategically designed by the Master to turn me into a warrior. I can say with absolute certainty that my marriage has withstood some storms that statistics say it should not have.
     By January of this year, it was obvious that we had passed the test and that we had HIS blessing to do as we had planned a year before. We didn't want a big audience. This was really just for us, not for show. There were only 8 in attendance , Eric, me, our children, my best friend, her husband , and their 2 children. We met on their back porch, exchanged vows that we had written and Eric sang a song that he had written for the occasion. The entire thing was simple, beautiful, and I cried the entire time. Afterwards we grilled some hot dogs and hamburgers and enjoyed each other's company for several hours.
     The next morning we dropped the kids off at friend's houses and we spent two uninterrupted days in Cherokee together, reliving old memories and making new ones. I do not know what God has planned for tomorrow, much less for years down the road. I do know this: God surely means for me to be with this man and for him to be with me.