Truth is, I hadn't really thought about marrying him yet. We had never said the words engaged or marriage. We hadn't discussed how many children we'd like to have or where we'd want to live. Andrew had purchased a townhouse two weeks before and although he took me to see it once before finalizing the deal, it was his home. I hadn't pictured myself cooking in the kitchen or decorating the bedroom.
I threw out a wild guess. "Hmm...maybe next summer?"
Little did I know that just two days later, I'd lug a laundry basket into my deserted dorm room, covered head-to-toe in flour from a day of Christmas cookie baking, to find eight dozen roses, a bottle of my favorite perfume, a lovely dress I'd been eyeing for weeks, a pair of delicate silver heals, and a handwritten letter tied up like a scroll. The letter told me to get myself ready and meet him at the bench on campus where he first told me he loved me. I knew just where to go.
Lots of candles.
Lots of flowers.
Sweet words I've long forgotten.
And a ring.
And so it began...No, that's not right. Our story began long before that moment. Long before we met for the first time, close to midnight in my freshman dorm room - no makeup, hair a mess, ratty pajama shorts and glasses, studying at my desk. He said hi from the doorway and I startled like one of those fainting goats. Yep, romance was already in the air.
Our story started long before I was a goofy high school student whose only dating prospect was a guy who left a sickly flower in my locker with a note that said "when I seen this rose, I think of you." It started long before I hurriedly made my way to the front of the auditorium with the rest of the summer campers to pick out my "promise key," thinking, Okay...yeah, I won't have sex til I'm married but do I seriously need to wear a Chevrolet key on a fake leather string around my neck?
I think our story may have started with a wild-haired little girl, asleep in the pre-dawn stillness, only aware of her dad's hand on her little head, praying for her daily before he left for work - praying that she would know God intimately and live life joyfully, and also praying for another child somewhere out there in the world whom God was already preparing to hold her hand through the brightest and darkest moments of life. My dad prayed for me and for Andrew every single day from the time I was born. If our journey was a storybook, those whispered prayers would grace page one.
We prepared for our wedding, looking so young and thin and tan and not even realizing that a few short years later, we'd look more like...parents.
And then, six years ago today, there was a wedding. Our very own heavenly day.
Marriage is beautiful. A most precious gift. But it is certainly...certainly one we have to fight for. I can be annoyingly persistent during arguments, refusing to let things go until they are fully resolved...whatever that means. I am perpetually late and always have a half-baked excuse. I tend to over-promise and under-deliver. I'm hard on our belongings, mindlessly slamming down faucets til they leak or denting walls with my carelessness.
And my husband...is wonderful. He cooks deliciously, cleans efficiently, takes care of everything automotive, manages our bills and finances, works his butt off to provide for us, makes me laugh all the time, tells me I'm beautiful, is fully engaged in parenting, has a generous servant's heart...and he drives me crazy. His communication skills leave something to be desired, although he's getting better every year. His pride can sometimes overshadow his gracious nature. When he's tired, he gets bossy and critical. Our fights can feel incredibly unproductive, almost one-sided. We get angrier and angier - him shutting down and me pushing the issue until neither of us have a clue what we're fighting about or how we'll know when it's over. In the ugliest moments, we sling the "d-word" at one another like a hand grenade with an intact pin.
Even six years in, sometimes we suck at marriage.
But six years in, this is exactly where I want to be. With my man and our girl and our pup. We have lots of chapters ahead of us. A new home is on the horizon, and hopefully we'll follow up that chapter with one about another pregnancy, a new baby.
I read this quote by Shauna Niequist the other day...and then I read it again and again and again. Maybe some of you can relate.
"I had thought that we became a family on the day we were married. What I have found, though, is that the web starts as just one fine filament on that day, and spins and spins around us as life presents itself to us day by day. And on some days, the strands spin around us double-time, spinning us like a top and binding us like rubber cement."
Oh how I feel that! Dizzy from the spinning, sticky with that glue.
And this quote, authored by an unknown poet, I'll leave just for Andrew...
"I cannot take the chance that you don't know how much it means to me - you carrying my hopes like precious cargo and traveling with me to dreams come true. So I will tell you again and again as if it were the first time - it is an honor, it is a privilege, it is a joy to share with you the path."