Today my parents are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. A few days ago my sister and brother-in-law celebrated their (I want to say) 15th. And in a few days, two of my best friends are celebrating their 25th.
My parents are each others best-friend-in-the-world. And not just in a “your spouse should be your best friend” kind of way. Like, they really are almost a self-contained unit. Not that they don’t have friends or family that they are close to, but… well, it’s like if they have each other, that’s all that matters, ever.
My sister and brother-in-law are a great couple. They are completely different from my parents, in personality and in style. But they also have a strong relationship. I think they recognize that they aren’t and can’t be all-in-all for each other (that’s God’s job, and they have a solid network of friends as well), but that they are the Lord’s provision for each other, and from the outside in, I watch as they love and serve each other and their family in ways great and small…
Rather than just spill theirs or anyone else’s marriage out here on my blog any more, I’m just going to pause here to say that there are a LOT of good, solid, happy couples in my life. Not couples who pretend to be happy; not couples who pretend happiness as a couple is easy… Sharing your life with someone else, for all its enormous blessings, is actually hard. It means your life isn’t really your life; it’s also their life. And vice versa. Any two people living together day-in and day-out are going to at times disagree and rub each other the wrong way and see each other at their best and worst and everything in between. There are days of being on each others very.last.nerve and having to choose to be loving when the feeling of love is having one of its more elusive moments. And I, who have done “marriage” very briefly but done it very badly indeed… I who am not good in the face of conflict… I who have been at times inclined to believe the kind of dark and outright lie (and depression does lie, make no mistake, though its lies are very convincing at the time) that love is a fictional construct for the benefit of poems, songs and movies…
I think the fact that I am literally surrounded by couples who make it work and are happy together is truly God’s grace to me. Because if I didn’t see on all sides of me these amazing couples who By Grace manage to love each other faithfully, joyfully and sacrificially… if I didn’t see it with my own eyes over and over and over again… I would default to a much more jaded perspective. So I am thankful for the K__’s, and the C__’s, and the D__’s, and so many other couples in whom I am blessed to see glimpses of God at work in causing love to be and grow and thrive.
And today, I got to be at the anniversary celebration and wedding-vow-renewal ceremony for one such couple. Like their love: it was simple, and yet beautiful. Like their marriage: there was laughter, and there were tears, and there was joy. All of their children participated. Their eldest three children with their spouses or significant others sang.
I cried. A lot. In the best possible way. They’re going to have to edit me out of the pictures. 🙂
As a testament, I suppose, to how blessed I have been to be included in their lives over and over through the years, I knew every single person at the gathering. Which, incidentally, you’d think would put me more at ease, and yet occasionally I felt – was – just as awkward as ever. (No one can do that quite as well as I can. It’s a gift, really. But in any case, A is for Awkward, too.)
So happy anniversary to all you couples out there, whenever your actually celebratory day may be. May you experience His grace and love and blessings for you both, for years to come.