When you meet and marry your husband the way I did, nobody expects you to stay married. Nobody. And when you marry a cowboy, it makes for an interesting ride full of ups, downs, and even a few “bucked off” moments. Through it all though, you remember why you married and how love & vows played the biggest roles in keeping you married.
January 30th, we will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. I realize the accomplishment that is, particularly in our current times, however, please don’t think there was pixie dust sprinkled on us, spreading joy & happiness every day. In fact, several years were quite the opposite and I think we both gave each-other the ‘what did we get ourselves into’ look many times. But then we remember…….our love and our vows.
When I look at this photo, I remember two things; being happy and being sad. I was 16 and 5 months pregnant with Tyler. I was happy because I was with the man that I loved. And I was sad because we lived away from anyone and everyone and I was clueless on how to be a wife, much less a mother. But our love for one another and our vows got us through those times; the times where we ate at Dairy Queen because I didn’t know how to cook, our heartbreaking miscarriages, and even the moments when we’d wonder how the heck we were gonna feed our kids when payday was still two more weeks away. We made it work because we loved each-other and because we made a vow to be true to each-other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better for worse, for richer for poorer til death do us part.
One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed. That demands ingenuity and consideration, but first and foremost, it demands time.
I truly believe this statement. I think that so many times, couples give up thinking that there is something better out there that would require less time & work and perhaps that’s true, but then what’s the point of the wedding vows? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to work through and appreciate the bad with the good because it has made our marriage substantial, our love for one-another stronger, and that only makes us more powerful as a couple. I have always given my husband credit for us being happily married. He is so slow to anger, he believes the best in people, he is as steady as a rock, he works from sun up to sun down to take care of us, and he is as faithful as any man could be. It took me a long time to truly appreciate those qualities, and instill them in myself, but I did and still continue to work at it……and more recently, when I turned it around and started to love my husband as God loves me, that’s when I knew that there will never be anything that will ever come between us. I began focusing less on his faults and more on my own… and my own need for God’s grace in my life. While I may dislike my husband at certain times (like when he promises to bring me a Dr. Pepper but then forgets), I completely love him with all my heart. There are no words to express my gratitude, only actions, actions of respect, honor and devotion until death parts us.
To live happily ever-after does not mean there are no struggles. It does mean that when you choose to die to yourself, to your SELFishness, your demands, your rights, and seek to really love, to be joined together as one, then you can start to live happily ever-after.
For every hard moment, there were twice as many happy & joyful moments and all I can do is smile when I think of them. I pray that God blesses us with 19+ more years.