Marriage Isn't Easy (and that's what makes it good)

Today, August 12, 2012, Justin and I celebrate 12 years of married love. 12 tribes of Israel. 12 apostles. 12 years. 

They say 12 is a perfect number, in the Bible at least, and these twelve years have been perfect. Of course, they haven’t been perfect, too.

Marriage is wonderful (full of wonders), frequently fun (sometimes routine), mostly comfortable (occasionally awkward), super challenging, and pretty much the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

But it’s not easy.

Usually people post lengthy descriptions of their union’s perfection on the day of their anniversary. That’s because anniversaries are days when we remember the good stuff and forget the bad stuff [We should celebrate anniversaries more often].

This morning, though, I’m thinking about the “bad” stuff, because on my anniversary I like to celebrate hard-won victories, the mountains we’ve climbed, the depths we’ve plumbed, the evil forces we’ve defeated. If marriage were easy I wouldn’t have so much to celebrate.

Looking back, I’m reminded that my husband and I are not perfect, that marriage hasn’t been a walk in the park, and that 12 years into this thing we are still figuring each other out.

And that’s what makes being married so great. It’s constantly shifting territory, wide open to exploration and innovation. Loving one another is an always moving target as we’re ever-growing and ever-changing into different, more interesting people. Marriage isn’t the kind of thing you do for a year and master.

My perfect-for-me husband is not perfect but hard-working, skilled, educated in all-things-Jennifer, and full of the Spirit of God. Our marriage is not the result of a fated, fairy tale love, but rather the product of years of refining, tearing down and building up, like a master poem—a work in perennial progress. 

It is a terrific poem. In twelve more years of writing, editing and re-writing it will be better. 

We celebrate today knowing God is doing a great work in our love for one another, knowing He is strengthening us, filling us with courage and patience, and shaping us into our best selves for and through this marriage.