What would you say if you could sum up marriage in one word? Perhaps it would be "challenging". Maybe "amazing". Possibly "stretching". Then there is always "love", "sacrifice", "compromise", "happiness", "grace", "hard", "hilarious", "brokenness", "commitment" and an infinite list of others. I'm going to go so bold as to say the word I've been mulling over in my head for my own marriage. It's..."perfect". I know, I know, no marriage is "perfect" and nothing aside from Christ alone can be perfect this side of Heaven, but let me explain why I'm choosing this word.
No, I don't think everything about my marriage is perfect. I am not perfect. Micah is not perfect. The events in our day-to-day life are not perfect. Our actions and reactions towards each other are not perfect. But what is perfect is the fact that a perfect God brought us two crazy, incomplete, holy, loved, broken, and valuable people together to go through life beside. God's plan of pulling us together was and still is certainly perfect after 10+ years of being together and that is what makes my marriage perfect...everything else involved NEEDS His perfection infused daily to keep it all together.
November 30th is fast approaching and Micah and I will celebrate 10 years of being united under the vows of marriage. 10 years of learning, growing, shedding tears--of joy as well as sadness. 10 years of building each other up and, unfortunately, at times bringing each other down. 10 years of bringing out each others' strengths as well as weaknesses to work on. 10 years of sharing accomplished dreams and our worst nightmares. 10 years of imperfect people living with a perfect Lord guiding us along the journey = 10 years of marriage perfection.
When we first got married we naively said we would take our dream trip to Italy for our 10 year anniversary. Ha! 10 years seemed like such a long time off...we would have plenty of time to save up the money and then whisk ourselves away to a romantic time together amongst the beauty and richness of Italy. Then came the purchase of our dog, a change in career choices for Micah that meant more schooling, a move from Friedenswald to Goshen, a career change for me, a hospitalized kidney infection for me, the birth of our first child, the purchase of our first house, a totaled vehicle and purchase of our new-to-us van, the birth of our second child, emergency heart surgery on that second child, gall bladder surgery on me, the birth of our third child, preschool for our first child, a medical mission trip to Haiti, the sale of our first home and purchase of our second one, the need for a second vehicle (a.k.a. piece of crap), too much maintenance on that
So, Italy got put on the back burner. We narrowed down our focus to a more realistic choice...Cancun. Yes! Cancun it would be. A week of luxury and alone time for me and my man along the shores of the beautiful ocean. Ahhhh..... Then came the decision to answer God's call to adopt, the expenses to see that adoption actually happen and preschool for our second child. Hmm....Cancun??? Well, as much as we still wish it would be a reality, it just isn't. Without knowing the length of the rest of Nora's adoption we can't risk spending that extra saved money on a week in luxury. So, just as Italy got put on the back burner, Cancun also got put on the other back burner, but that doesn't mean Micah and I will not get to celebrate our anniversary in a special way.
Thanks to my parent's willingness to watch their adorably cute grandkids for an overnight, Micah and I will get to spend a night at the Heritage Inn on the grounds of Sauder's Village in Archbold, Ohio. Yep, Sauder's Village...the place I went to as a kid for a field trip-ha! No, it's not the romance of Italy or the warm climate of Cancun, but it will still be a time for just the two of us to spend together. Maybe we'll spend our time reflecting back on our 10 years of a perfect marriage of two imperfect people. Maybe we'll take a walk around the grounds of the village. Maybe we'll...well, sleep. No matter what we do, we will enjoy every single second of that quality time away together. The reality of marriage is not that two lives get whisked away to enjoy each other every second of every day with no regard to the world around them. It's more like two lives coming together and living those lives as one life instead--a life full of busy, hectic, wonderful, crazy moments. It's a life that comes with many, many things that change the course of a planned future....a life that changes trips from Italy, to Cancun, to Sauder's Village.
Is that changed future any less exciting, romantic, blessed, or free? Not really. Maybe the vacations and breaks are not as long and not as far away, but the tradeoff is priceless. I would NEVER trade in Micah becoming a nurse using his God-given talents to help cancer patients who desperately need his sense of humor and care for a trip to Cancun or even a trip to Italy. I would never trade in any of my 4 precious children. I would never trade in the memories made in our two homes. I would never trade in the health of my family. I would never trade in the journey of adoption. I would never trade in 10 years of a perfect marriage guided by a perfect God for what we assume would be the "perfect" anniversary get-a-way. The life we have lived over the past 10 years as a married team is far too amazing...far too beyond my dreams. I'll gladly take my overnight to Sauder's Village instead.
I am blessed. I was blessed before I met Micah. I am blessed to have met and married Micah. I am blessed to have the life I live. I am blessed to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary with an overnight at a local inn. I am even more blessed because a God who loves me, cares for me, and lives with me each and every moment of my life has made it all perfect for me.
10 years and counting, Babe. I love you so very much. I respect you more and more and more each day we are together. You have enriched my life by simply being you. Thank you, Micah! We have so many more years together--eventually we'll get to Cancun and to Italy, I just know it. Here's to 10 years and to making the movies jealous...
(Sorry about the quality of some of those earlier photos in the video...they are photos taken of photos in my early scrapbooks.)