There are many aphorisms about marriage. It is an ancient custom, and yet still people debate its meaning, its value, its purpose.
In light of the gospel, it is an image of the unconditional and perfect love that God has for us, portrayed by two imperfect souls. It is through marriage that I have found how complicated and deep and painful and wonderful love is.
Love means trusting each other long-term. It is having your partner text someone back while you are driving with no fear of what they might see (a real shocker for my teenage students). It is not freaking out when life gets difficult and you have every reason in the world to freak out except that your partner asked you to trust him.
I see love in the simple things Chris does for me, such as killing spiders or taking out the trash, and in the selfless things that seem big to me, but he makes seem simple. He supported me in getting my allergies and my spine figured out, even when we were on a limited budget. When we got a new car, he insisted that I drive it. When I’m overwhelmed by work and life, he holds me, feeds me, and tells me it’s okay to feel those things. He managed our finances so well that, despite my doubts, we were able to purchase a house, shortening my commute to work and increasing my sense of safety when he has to be away for work.
I see love in the way he recognizes the things I do for us, acknowledging that I chose to follow him to a new state, and supporting me building my career by staying in Arkansas for his doctorate, although we did consider moving again (and it would have been easier for him, had we done so). He is grateful when I help him with car maintenance, shopping, and keeping up with our social engagements. He tolerates my dorky, punny humor, and feels like home when everything else doesn’t.
Yes, we have disagreed, yelled, and cried, but the important thing is, we have always done so knowing that no disagreement could ever separate us permanently. Love is a choice we make each day, to choose each other over everyone else.
I love when people notice we are for real life partners. It makes me smile when others are encouraged because of how we treat each other. We may seem “boring” to some people in the way we live our life together, but that’s because we are setting the marathon pace; true love is not fast, easy, or flashy, but rather steady, strong, and ever-brightening.
These first five years have set the trajectory of our marriage, and I’m delighted to say that we are both pleased with the direction in which we are going.
I love you, Chris Topher! Happy 5th Anniversary!