Three years

Three years ago on this day, I became a Mrs.

T and I got married in our small Kentucky hometown, in a church packed with our family and friends, and then danced the night away under a tent on my grandparents’ farm. It was lovely and beautiful, and I still look back on that day astonished at the sense of peace and easiness that filled it. I was simply overjoyed and ready to become the woman T called his wife.

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When we said “I do”, T and I had been a couple for seven years. We’d dated all through high school and college and, though we understood that there’d be things to learn as a married couple, I think we sort of assumed we knew all there was to know about one another. We didn’t. Over the last three years, we’ve learned little things like who is more of a morning person (T), and who is better at loading the dishwasher (Me); we’ve also learned bigger, more impactful lessons like how to listen and understand one another, and how to handle change and difficult decisions.

Don’t get me wrong; when it comes being a wife, I still consider myself an infant. I realize that three years is just a tiny span on the timeline of our lives. We still have much to experience and much wisdom to gain before I consider myself qualified to offer sound advice. Nevertheless, here are three things I’ve come to know and understand in our three short years of marriage.

Community is crucial. One of my favorite memories from our wedding day is when we paused during the ceremony to participate in communion. T and I were able to stand at the front of the sanctuary and look out over the seats filled with seven years’ worth of people who had loved and supported and cheered us on. Then and now, a solid community of people who love Jesus and us has been a vital part of our relationship. Our community has challenged, counseled and encouraged us…and doing life with them is fun! Marriage was never intended to be an adventure tackled alone, and when T and I are surrounded and supported by others, we’re stronger as individuals and as a couple.

Imperfection isn’t fatal. I walked into marriage with a very specific definition of what it meant to be a wife. I’d watched my mother and grandmothers excel at supporting, serving and taking care of their husbands my entire life, and I planned to do the same. And then, one morning just a few months into our marriage, T was getting ready for dental school and realized he had no clean scrubs. My response? Tears. (Seriously.) To me, a forgotten load of laundry felt like a major failure as a wife.

That day, T ended up wearing the same pair of scrubs he’d worn the day before. And you know what? Nothing bad happened. I realized that I had been putting far too much pressure on myself and taking this wife thing far too seriously. Sure, I was called to serve my husband, but I was called to do so joyfully, and with the understanding that perfection is simply not the goal. I needed to let myself off the hook, and give myself the freedom and the permission to learn and make mistakes for my own sanity and for T’s. After all, the crying over dirty laundry scenario wasn’t exactly something either of us wanted to relive.

My marriage is bigger than me. From a young age, I was taught that the purpose of marriage is to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His church. And while I understood this on a basic level, the last three years have given me the opportunity to experience the joy and the responsibility that come with representing something of such magnitude. I’ve come to understand that marriage is about something far greater and deeper than finding someone to love for the rest of my life. It’s about combining the talents and knowledge and energy and passion of two people in order to know God more and serve people better than either of us could alone. That is a lofty task, and we fall short a lot. But it’s  when I have this goal in sight that I feel truly connected to T, and true growth in our marriage is possible.

The last three years have been an absolute joy (aforementioned laundry incident notwithstanding), and I’m looking forward to continuing the journey that has, at least for the next several months, taken us South of the Bluegrass. I love knowing that, no matter how far we travel or how much around us changes, God is molding us into a couple he can use and grow. So, here’s to another year of being a Mrs., and to many, many more.

Until next time,

M

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