(Since I didn't have a picture of us on our tenth anniversary, here's one of us on our first one. Aren't we cute?)
I've been thinking about what a blessing marriage to this man has been. The truth is, it has been beyond what I could ever have imagined before we were married. Don't get me wrong, we're not anywhere near perfect. We take each other for granted sometimes. Selfishness still creeps in too often. We're still not the greatest communicators (Two introverts...). Still, ten years later, I can say that I had no idea back then how good marriage would be. I thought it was good then, but it really has just gotten better for us.
I know this isn't true for everyone. Even Christian couples can have unhappy marriages, and even separate and divorce. I'm telling you how it is for us so you can be encouraged that happy marriages do happen. There is too much bad news about marriage around. (Though I've heard lately that the doom-and-gloom statistics may not actually be the true picture.)
What is it that makes a marriage happy? There is a lot of discussion in Christian circles about love and respect and about headship and submission. This is all very helpful, but I want to point out something even more basic that can sometimes be overlooked. I think that the way God calls all Christians to act towards one another in the Church applies to Christian marriage as well. This seems very basic, but it can take a lifetime to grow into living it out. Consider this:
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)How happy would all Christian marriages be if just this one simple thing was taken to heart?
Or think about 1 Corinthians 13, read so often at weddings that you may not even pay attention to the words anymore:
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."I'd be the first to admit that I don't think about these things nearly often enough. And yet when I think about it, this is why we're happy. We're kind to each other. Most of the time. (Like I said, we're not perfect.) We are not often irritable or resentful towards each other. If we are, we tend to be forgiving. I'm not saying this to boast. To be honest, we are grateful for God's grace in that we have not had many great trials yet in these ten years. Living in peace has come fairly easily to us so far. And yet, I think we can trust God to help us continue in this even when hard times do come.
I am thankful for my husband.
It is good to go through life with someone I love, and to share life's experiences together.
It is happiness just to be in the same room, talking when we want to talk, being silent together when we want to be silent.
It is amazing joy to be parents together of four little boys.
I especially feel grateful for the confidence and trust he places in me. It's my favourite thing about being married, and I don't take it for granted.
There you have them. Thankful thoughts. I would love to hear from you what you're grateful for in your marriage. I didn't write this post so you could start comparing your marriage with mine (this happens way too often in the blogworld, doesn't it?), just to encourage you to think of the things you're grateful for as well.