The Bricks and Mortar of Marriage
Eight years ago July 30, I grasped that flaming bouquet and walked down the aisle to the tears in your eyes, fire in my hands and my heart. But when I thought about a tribute here to our anniversary, I didn’t want to post a picture of us then. I want one from now. Now, with me five months pregnant with our fourth and us no longer cute little twentysomethings. Now when it’s so hard to get a picture because of the little feet pattering and both of stand on the edge of our 30’s, and the glamor fades. Our six year old took our picture for us.
Us today. Because it means something. The skinny couple in the picture had a lot, but so much they didn’t know, couldn’t know, maybe shouldn’t know. All that the years bring. Grace and grief and trial and tears–happy and sad, life and death, all mixed together with strange flavors sometimes.
In real life, there are loops and circles, deserts and pits, and a trials without easy answers.
During one stressful season of marriage, I gathered my courage to spend our meager money on a night away for the two of us. Using hotwire meant no refund, but I wanted to surprise you, arrange everything, and make it special. The appointed day arrived, and your Nana passed away.
So true of life, so unpredictable. No what we expected.
When I spent a summer in Africa prior to our November engagement, they used a phrase when they spoke of anything in the future: Inshallah.
If God wills it, I will see you tomorrow.
If God wills it, we will plan to do this or that.
It might be a better lens for life than the steady diet of romantic comedies that feed our young ladies today. Linear story: girl meets boy, conflict arises, conflict solved, happy ending. Maybe we’d remember Whose really in control, and it’s not us.
I remember how we faltered in the beginning. How I almost gave up on you because you hadn’t the courage to ask for a date. How awkward those first dates were, eye contact poor and conversation flailing. How you fell first and then I was scared. (Me scared? Who would have thought? 😉
I remember that warm proposal on a cold November night and my world was shifting around you, my center. How you cherished me so.
Life is not scripted.
And better that way. Because that sweating teary mess of an hour before Abby was born when there was no medicine but relentless labor pains? It was just us, alone. Not a soul bore witness to the tumultuous, tearing birth of our family save anonymous nurses and a doctor we didn’t know.
Everyone shares in the day of beginnings, the wedding day joy. But in the wee hours of the morning, when we’re slugging to the baby’s bed and late at night when we whisper the fears or the dreams, this is when the marriage is made, bricks and mortar.
In the end, there are so few movie moments, but the ones that happen come silent and soft and unlooked-for, like grace running downhill to the humble.
Inshallah, I want to keep finding them with you.
Happy Eight Years.
And to all my sweet readers, we had a lovely anniversary gift on the 25th when we found out our fourth baby…
We are thrilled.