Ten years ago today, I was waking up at the Ramada on HWY 41 in Henderson, KY. Within the hour, I would eat breakfast and then head with my bridal party across town to have our hair done. The day would be an adventure from start to finish and would include a missing bridesmaid dress, a late groom, a thousand pictures, a really fun reception full of family and friends, prayer, flowers and candles–and the highlight of the day–marrying Jason.
Ten years have gone by. Honestly? They’ve flown by. I can’t believe it’s been ten years.
In ten years, we’ve bought and sold a house and bought another one.
In ten years, we’ve parented a child who went from being 3 years old to 13 years old.
In ten years, we’ve owned 2 trucks and 2 cars. We’ve had 3 dogs, 1 cat and a hamster. We’ve celebrated 10 Christmases, Easters, Thanksgivings, Halloweens. I’ve turned 30, he’s turned 40. We’ve been to Branson, the Smoky Mountains, St. Pete Beach, South Dakota, Destin, Houston, Nags Head, NW Indiana and I’m getting too old to remember where else. We’ve planned together, struggled together, dreamed together, worried together, laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed together, cried harder than I’ve ever cried together.
Most days, I figure we couldn’t be more different. He loves the great outdoors and all things primitive and could sleep in the backyard every day when the temperature drops below 40 degrees (and seriously, there are some days when he could sleep in the backyard for all I care!). I love the great indoors and all things books, music and technology. We’re registered with different political parties. We don’t agree on the best movies. He’s an extreme extrovert and I’m extremely introverted. His dream vacation spots include mountains and tents and waterfalls. Mine include luxurious hotels, beaches and balconies. We laugh at different things and most of the things he thinks are hilarious just don’t seem all that funny to me. He’s brilliant with money and I lose receipts and forget to record transactions. I suppose we’re the poster-couple for “Opposites Attract!”
Marriage is hard, which is something most people don’t mention before you get married. It’s hard to commit to living life together until death do you part. What should tip us all off is the vows: For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health. At the altar, all we see is the better, the richer, the health. But when you share life with another person, there’s usually plenty of worse, of poorer and of sickness too.
“It’s about compromise,” someone told me sagely before the big day. This person meant well, but their statement was simply not true. Compromise means meeting in the middle with both sides getting some of what is wanted, and that hardly ever works in our marriage. Usually, one of us has to give up our way and our interest for the sake of the other. I can look back at the last ten years and see many points and places where either Jason had to give up his way or I had to give up my way. I remember some instances where that giving up was painful and difficult, but the one who laid self aside did it because that’s what marriage is about. Neither of us can only think about his or herself only anymore.
And parenting adds a whole other layer to this, for there were many times when neither of us got our own way because the best interest of the child trumps everything else always.
Jason and I are a team. He’s the one who stands by me when I feel completely abandoned by everyone else. He’s the one who reminds me who I am and what I love. He’s the one who can always make me laugh. He’s the one who folds the laundry when it’s the last thing I want to do. He’s the one I can never stay mad at because I know he loves me so much and I love him back. He’s the one cheering during my most successful moments and holding me during my moments of greatest defeat. He’s the one I don’t mind making sacrifices for and I wouldn’t change a thing about him.
Ten years of marriage is about sacrifice more than compromise. it’s about a laying down of self and a taking up of “us.” And it’s been completely worth it. At the end of this day and all days, God gave us each other and a million great memories. And I’m grateful.
Happy Anniversary, Jason!