18.

a reposting from long ago and in honor of 18 years today.  My love, you bless me so.

marriage.

She was so beautiful, my cousin, floating down the aisle on her father’s arm to the man waiting for her.  And I cried.  I always do.  A few tears for the parents who surely must have warring emotions, after all, if I can barely stand to see her given away how much harder must it be for them to be the ones placing her hand in another’s?  A few tears for nostalgia and the beauty of the bride, and this one surely was one of the most beautiful.  But handfuls of tears for what she and he don’t know.  They don’t know that this relationship they’re entering into will be the hardest and best and that it’ll test all they are and shape all they will become.  They can’t anticipate the pain and joy and sadness and struggle and laughter and fun marriage holds.  If they did, they might pause.  But thank goodness for innocence or we’d have missed another chance to see a marriage launched.  And to remember how ignorant we were and to be thankful for it.  Because you can’t describe a marriage relationship any more than you can describe the color blue.  You just have to wear it and swim in it for awhile and see how it feels sifting through your fingers and then you still won’t be able to describe it but you’ll just know and you’ll be better for having known and you’ll be so thankful.

Thankful there was no advance notice on how hard it is for one selfish, sinful person to share their life with another selfish sinful person and work toward utter selflessness.  How painful it will be to work through issues that arise, and they will, even if you have a really good therapist and spend hours on your knees.  It’s still hard.  How beautiful it is to lay in a hospital bed and hold your first baby together and know that you did this thing.  Together.  And how equally beautiful to do it three more times.  How lovely to remember the time when you were in a really dark place and the other could to nothing other than rub your back and whisper, “you are safe.  you are safe.” over and over and how you fell asleep listening to that voice and became convinced that perhaps for a blink Jesus was there in flesh and moving through him.  How hard when you discover secrets the other is keeping, because we all are and when you do life together, they will come out.  Eventually.  And you wouldn’t believe it on your wedding day, but listen to me when I tell you that you’ll be thankful when they come out because truth shines light into the darkest corners and exposes secrets God never intended us to keep.  From Him.  From our other.  And you’ll move forward.
On your wedding day you can’t possibly know that you may someday have to explain divorce to your children and will fall all over yourself reassuring them that you will never let that happen.  Never.  And each time you say “never” you become more firmly resolved and something opens up in your heart and you praise God because divorce is not from Him and so it’s not a place you’re willing to go.  You’ll show them the picture in your album (silently cursing your unimaginative photographer and the heavy handed stylist who convinced you that a little rouge would really make your eyes pop) of the part when the pastor took his stole and wrapped it around your arm and the arm of your other and swore an oath that nothing would separate you.  You remind them that you fall deeper in love with them more everyday because you get to know them better and it’s the same with a mommy and a daddy.  And you’ll feel sad even having to speak this conversation and you won’t want to talk about it anymore cause it’s too yucky, but it’s important to reassure them that they can talk to you about anything even things that make you feel yucky inside.  Then you’ll kiss your other and go make popcorn and laugh about something and life will go on.  Only sweeter for the reminder of how fleeting the world is.
You can’t know until you’ve been doing it for a good long while how wonderful it feels to be totally known by another person and loved anyway.  How when you have kids you understand, really understand, for the first time the love God has for his people.  That this teeny person is someone worth dying for.  You’d do it in a heart beat.  And then you remember that this man came before and you’d do it for him too.  You maybe forget that for a while but then you remember and you fall in love all over again.  If you said all this stuff in a toast at the reception, you’d be booed and someone might even throw a tomato, but you can write it on your blog if you have one.  And writing it will make you relive the wedding and the fifteen years it’s taken you to learn a million lessons in a hundred different ways and you’ll whisper one breath prayer and it’ll go like this…”thank you” 

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