Look at these crazy kids...years ago they thought they could take on the world, or at least live" happily ever after".
Here's what TWENTY-THREE YEARS of marriage has done to them:
The outside differences are obvious...less hair (some of which is gray), wrinkles...weight has been gained, boobs added...the outside of a marriage that's almost a quarter of a century "young" is easy to spot.
But, what about the inside differences of a marriage that's weathered twenty-three years? What do those look like?
While harder to see from looking at a picture, there are just as many, and they're much more important than what's changed on the outside. Decades of child raising, multiple moves, job transfers, addiction, a return to college, home loss, home REgain...all of these life experiences together have changed the people who have lived through them.
Some moments for better, some moments for worse.
The twenty-somethings who tied the knot back in 1992 had no idea what might come their way. However, they thought their love would be enough to conquer it all, and so far it has proven to be true.
But the last thing it's been is easy.
Tom and I feel like every week we hear of yet another couple we know who has made the decision to divorce. And it reminds both of us even though marriage is incredibly challenging at times (and yes, even boring at times), it is also equally gratifying knowing we are doing the best we can to live out the commitment we made in front of God and our close family and friends on May 23, 1992.
Because marriage, like parenting, isn't perfect. And, after years of being married I am convinced there really is no way to fully prepare for committing your life to another person through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer...just like there's no way to truly prepare for parenthood.
I believe the one constant in life (besides birth/death/taxes) is change. So for a marriage to continue to survive you have to be willing to accept change, foster and support change, and grow with the changes that will come along.
Over the years Tom and I have both grown as people, for me it's been especially apparent in my faith. As a couple we've continued to grow in understanding and supporting one another's goals and dreams. Although I can't speak for Tom, I know the struggles we have endured as a couple have taught me a lot about compassion towards others. About not being too quick to critique the choices people make, and about the beauty in grace and forgiveness.
I'd love to say we are spending our anniversary weekend flying somewhere warm/dry/beach-y, but (like marriage) it won't be quite that glamorous. This weekend will kick off with some day surgery for me....then a lot of napping I hope. For Tom, who's ordered three pallets of sod for the front yard, it means sweat and hard work. He'll be be laboring while I'll be sleeping...about par for the course. But we'll also be checking in on each other and spending some down time together, the companionship part of our marriage which has also been a constant.
Some things never change (which is exactly why I love him).