My wife and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. No question that this is a big milestone in anyone’s life. It’s been said that seven to ten years into a marriage are usually pretty rough, and I would have to agree. And while we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary, which society places a big value on, I can say that this anniversary is a celebration of past anniversaries which were tender, if not heartbreaking, because of life’s challenges.
When we were married, I thought of our arrangement a lot like a great business partnership. We both brought excellent skills to the table, and I knew that we would be successful. The years that followed, I’ve learned that a marriage is much deeper than a partnership or any other relationship. Of course, anyone reading that will agree that that sounds like common – knowledge. However, don’t miss the nuance of that statement. How many days had I mentally divided up the challenges ahead of us as “my jobs and “her jobs”? How many times have I approached the challenges of our life like I would approach a quarterly forecast or devising a business plan?
These tendencies are perhaps valuable for getting things accomplished and checking off the to-do list, but in a real – life relationship, and strong (strengthening) marriage, the reality is sometimes the only thing you can do is hold each other tightly and cry.
People have complimented us on our relationship. A good friend of mine that is a few years older than me, has recently commented that he sees how happy I am in my marriage, and seems to yearn for more of that in his own life. Personally, I know that he has had this kind of relationship in his life in the past. And, I didn’t shy from telling him that I pray that he will regain that kind of relationship.
However, the hard truth of it is, that while some people might have a “perfect marriage” that just seems to happen that way, my marriage, and the strength that I feel in it, come squarely on the back of brutal adversity and trials… that I admittedly introduced.
I’m ashamed to say that those trials nearly broke us.
As a Christian, and a Latter-day Saint, my faith is that my marriage is a partnership much greater than the legal arrangement between myself and my wife. It’s much greater than a personal/interpersonal relationship. It’s much greater than a friendship, an intimate relationship. It is a relationship between myself, my wife, and my Savior. The purpose of our marriage, it’s not for earthly convenience, but for eternal joy. And, that opportunity Cannot exist, in my view without Jesus Christ… without whose grace I can honestly say, my marriage would be a past-tense today, not something I can currently praise.
Anything in my marriage worth praising today, I can truly say, has come through the direct or indirect blessings of God in our individual and collective lives. He strengthened each of us in our own challenges, and strengthens us together as a whole in the things we are currently facing and the things we need to be doing now. He causes the sun to rise on the just and the unjust, the worthy and the unworthy… and for that opportunity to work while the sun shines to move solidly from being unjust and unworthy to just and worthy in my life here, I am truly and fully grateful.