This was the scene two days before our nine year wedding anniversary. I was in the bathroom helping our two year old transport her poop in her diaper to the potty (oh the joys of potty training!) when somehow the poop rolled all over me and the floor. After I cleaned up the floor I was upstairs changing my clothes when I heard my husband yelling. I guess the smell of the poop got to our daughter and she threw up everywhere. Awesome. Of course this led to a fight (because it had to be one of our faults) and I grumpily exclaimed, "Yeah-we probably aren't going to even make it to our nine year anniversary!!" Five minutes later we were chatting as if the event and argument had never happened and an hour later we were holding hands at church happily worshiping God together. Welcome to our life and marriage.
I have had a handful of people tell me how lucky I am that my husband and I enjoy running and working out together, going to church together, etc.I often share that this took a LONG TIME. When we first got married there were countless times when I would go workout on my own and try to get my husband to care about fitness and eating well and he just rolled his eyes at me and went back to playing video games and drinking his mountain dew. For years in the beginning of our marriage I had to talk him into going to church with me. Now, he is super involved in church and there are some Sundays when he goes without me. We have evolved so much as a couple. The good news is that we have evolved together. But, it took a lot of years to get to this place and to get on the same page. There are still days and circumstances where we are not on the same page together.
Over the last nine years my husband and I have witnessed and experienced divorces, depression, job losses/unemployment, deaths, and a million other life shaking events. We have fought over money, how we take care of kids, who is going to change the next diaper, not being romantic enough, not having sex enough, dishes, more dishes, and I have even been known to throw things at him from time to time (I'm not proud to admit that). Some days marriage is NOT FUN. It is hard work. At least a few times a week I wonder how married couples survive. They definitely don't make it off of romance and love. If I was going to stay married because of the butterflies, excitement, and fun then our marriage would have been over a long time ago. Don't get me wrong-we do sometimes have those moments in our marriage-but they are few and far between. We stay married because we choose to and we wouldn't want it any other way. One of my favorite quotes goes something like "My worst days with you are still better than my best days without you." The days I am frustrated in my marriage I choose to focus on the positives of being married and I think about life without my spouse. I would much rather deal with the negative aspects of our marriage than to not be with him at all. Here is what I have learned so far in the last nine years of wedded "bliss":
1. Forgive daily-I stink at this. I take everything personally, I am super sensitive, and I hold grudges. I have to work extra hard to forgive. But work at it-it's worth it.
2. Prince Charming does not exist-it is so easy to let your mind wander off and think what it would be like if you ended up with someone else. Well guess what? I am sure Prince Charming farts, has bad mood days, and likes to play X-box way too much too. The grass will always looks greener. It's not. Focus on the good qualities of your spouse.
3. Laugh together-Is it fun having to turn off of an exit after your child threw up all over the backseat on the way home from vacation and you have to clean them up in McDonalds and smell vomit the rest of the trip home? NO! But, laugh about it. These are the things that make the best memories and give you the stories to talk about. One of the best things about having a spouse is having someone wh0 has your back and can share life with you. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
4. Keep God center in your marriage-If you make your marriage about supporting your spouse and fulfilling God's will on earth for you as individuals and as a couple it gives your marriage purpose and gives you a common goal. Find out what that goal is. Trust that God can heal, change people, and strengthen your marriage.
5. Life is short-Find the great moments within the messy ones. When you look at our family pictures and other's family pictures you don't see what happened before or after the perfect picture was taken. Enjoy the moments (especially with the little ones) because they go by so fast.
Wow! I can't believe that we were twenty two and twenty-four when we got married. We were immature, clueless, naive young people. Some days we still are. I think it is a miracle that our marriage has survived and I am so fortunate and glad that it has. We have a long way to go. We have a lot left to learn and conquer. It is exciting and scary all in one. I am so thankful and blessed that I picked who I did nine years ago and I hope and pray that we can celebrate a million more years together!