On January 12, my husband Pat and I celebrated our thirty second wedding anniversary. And absolutely, yes, I would marry him all over again. I remember it like it was yesterday. The day was sunny, but cold and windy. The church was filled with poinsettias and candles. We were both wobbly-kneed and, looking back, so very young. I stood face blurred beneath my veil, breathless with wonder and anticipation and pledged to love Pat forever. Pat, no less nervous, promised me forever in return.
We didn’t know what life would bring us. We just knew that we wanted to live it together.
Since saying, “I do,” Pat and I have been blessed with quite a lot - 5 sons, 1 daughter, a daughter-in-law, a dog and a turtle, a house, a bunch of furniture, and a garage filled with everything but a car. It takes an effort to build a life together, and while most of these things are just things, they stand as evidence of time and energy thoughtfully invested. Of two individuals becoming one cemented together with happiness, loss, and murmured prayers.
Thirty-two years ago we had no idea what the everyday details of our life would be. We could not foresee the habits of courtesy, the words of blessing, or not, that would be spoken daily. We did not know the schedules we would keep or how those days would become years and then decades. Getting married is such a great leap of faith.
Everyone seems normal until you get to know them. Pat knows and understands my idiosyncrasies. And I understand his, which are far less, just ask my children. When Pat and I first married, I discovered that he was one of those people who roll the tube of toothpaste up from the bottom. I am more of a grab and squeeze kind of girl. And then imagine my surprise the first time I realized, oh-my-goodness, Pat turns his socks inside out when he takes them off! Let me share: Life is full of toothpaste tubes and rolled up socks- opportunities to get annoyed with each other. Way back then it certainly seemed ridiculous that I would bicker with my beloved husband about socks and toothpaste. Eventually you make the decision to find joy in the everydayness (is that a word?) of the marriage that you leapt into so happily. You stop looking for reasons to be annoyed and focus on that wonderful person you chose to marry.
Pat and I have seen each other in traffic, sick, angry, in mourning, and in prayer. I know how Pat will react to a stuffed up toilet and a kayak trip down Wappingers Creek at flood stage. He has seen me cry over a kitchen covered in red sugar Kool-aide powder, dumped cereal, and trails of food items from an early morning breakfast run by a child old enough to know better. Pat has planned camping vacations, built fires, and put chemicals in a pool that he does not swim in. Pat starts my car on cold mornings so that it will be warm. He loves our children.
Older couples will often remark that they somehow love their spouse more these 25, 35, 50 years later, than they did when they first married. As a newlywed, I always loved to hear that, but was pretty sure it would not apply to me. I already was so in love with Pat I did not think it possible to love him more.
And I am amazed because I really do love him more than I ever dreamed thirty-two years ago when I said, “I do.” “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13: 12 One day not so long from now, Pat and I will stand wrinkled hand in wrinkled hand. We will look back at our life. A life based on faith in the God who brought us together. We will see our love story played out in all its chapters. On that day, God will reach down gently to me and say, “Do you see Me? Do you see Me in the minutes, hours, days, and years?”
And on that day, I will answer breathless with wonder and anticipation, “I do, Lord. Oh, yes, I do.”
Linking to: Proverbs 31
Linking to: Proverbs 31