We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary yesterday. We went to the Yaffa Grill (a Meditteranean place) and then went to a grocery store and a Cabela's, a big outdoorsy, sportsman store. Kevin likes wandering such places, and I wanted to see FISH. And I did. They have a big fish tank with big fish. Fun.
It really seems well nigh impossible that we've been married 19 years, though those 9 kids (the eldest of whom is 16) would seem to indicate it has been quite a while since our wedding. In many ways, it is very hard to remember life before marriage. And yet, it seems like yesterday we WERE married. I remember that day so well.
I feel lucky. VERY lucky. I'm kind of a weird person and while I think I'm pretty easy to get along with, I know I am not mellow and being "happy" doesn't come naturally to me. But I am very happy with Kevin. We are best friends as well as lovers, and that is one of the world's greatest blessings. And sometimes I wonder why we do so well together. Yes, we have our occasional fights and disagreements, but they are rare. We have the Holy Spirit helping us and He certainly does, but still -- many Christians marriages end. And ours has not just lasted but has grown stronger through the years. I am happier now than I was the first year of marriage, and the first year of marriage wasn't bad, though it was difficult. Melding to someone else isn't trivial, and we spent a lot of time on our couch talking through things that first year.
I know commitment is a big part of it. When we were in marriage counseling with our pastor (in Michigan, which is where we married) he emphasized the need for commitment. And certainly the kids inspire us to commitment as well. I am very thankful that our kids have grown up in an intact marriage. Plenty of people experience divorce through no desire of their own and of course God watches out for them and their children, BUT it is good our kids know we love each other and that at the end of the day, we'll both be home with them.
One other thing that helped our marriage, I think, is that we both entered marriage without those infamous rose colored glasses on. I've read many a marriage book that said, "You think he (or she) is perfect, but you will find that a few months into your marriage, he (or she) will outrage or offend you and you'll finally see the feet of clay."
Well, it wasn't like that for us. We were a little older (I was 27 and Kevin was 26) when we were married, and we both had soldiered through difficult things in our lives, and we both knew that relationships and marriage would not be easy. We were right. It isn't always easy. Sometimes it is really HARD. But good things in life are hard, sometimes. We knew right away that we'd experience challenges, so that didn't take us by surprise.
Anyway, 19 years. I'm so thankful for Kevin. Definitely God's gift to me.