It’s late and my heart’s full. I’ve been thinking about my husband and our marriage.
*sigh* I was so young when we got married. I mean, I didn’t think so at the time. I thought I was so grown-up, and I can even remember having conversations with Patrick in our early years of marriage about how I didn’t feel like people treated us like “real” adults. I was 21 when we got married. 21. So young and so in love. At the time, our wedding day was the happiest day of my life. I don’t know if I have ever smiled so much and been so happy in one day as on our wedding day. Just about everyone I loved was there watching me marry the one person I loved more than anyone else. And I did love Patrick then . . . . as best I could, anyway.
Now I look back and think that my love for Patrick was so immature then. It hadn’t been tested . . . proven . . . put through the fire. The first couple years of our marriage were sort of a tough way to start out. He was in graduate school, and I was teaching elementary school. Our schedules were exactly opposite. He worked several afternoons a week and had classes in the evenings. I taught all day and was home every evening. We were learning how to be married, how to become one flesh, how to take two very strong, very stubborn people and become one. Oh, it was hard. I can remember crying and crying. See, I always thought that when I grew up I could do whatever I wanted. Nobody really ever mentioned that my husband might have some opinions. And that whole submitting thing sounded so much better in theory.
I missed living in a building with all my best friends. I missed girlfriends. And it was difficult figuring out how to be a wife and a grown-up all at once. Those first few years were tough. Sometimes I acted so childish. The temper tantrums I threw. Goodness! Patrick deserves some sort of medal or award. We had some fights I’d be embarrassed to tell about. And there were nights I cried myself to sleep.
I needed to die to myself . . . to my stubborn-ness, to my individual-ness, to my I’ve-got-to-be-right-ness. I had to die to my idea of what being a grown-up was going to be like. I had to kill the idea that I could do whatever in the heck I wanted, that I would be my own boss. I mean, really, where did I ever come up with that stupid notion anyway?! God was so patient with me. Patrick was so patient with me. I’m so thankful they were. I think that’s why my heart is so full tonight.
Now, I really do love Patrick with a love that has been tested and proven. We’ve been through hard times, and we’ve chosen to stick it out. We’ve been through some times when the gushy feelings just haven’t been there, and we’ve chosen to love each other anyway. We’ve sacrificed for each other. We’ve served each other. We’ve taken care of each other — he has held my hair back when I’ve thrown up, and I’ve nursed him through some frightening low blood sugars. He carried me into an emergency room one night. And I walked beside his gurney into that same emergency room in the middle of another night. He has held my hand and prayed with me and counted for me as I’ve given birth to our six babies. We’ve played counteless games of Trivial Pursuit and we’ve laughed at the exact same corny jokes too many times to count. I’ve curled up onto his lap to cry, and he has been a pillar of stability for my crazy-woman emotions. We’ve made bad decisions together, and we’ve learned from our mistakes. All of this has strengthened our love.
Nobody else knows me like Patrick does. He is my best friend. We read books together. We love the same TV shows. He’s learned about the things I love, and I know more about Nascar and bow hunting than I ever dreamed I would! He has given up things for me, and he’s smiled and been happy to do it. I am sure I haven’t reciprocated enough. I’ve still got some selfish, stubborn me left that needs to die.
I bet when I’m 65 or 70, I’ll look back to when I was such a baby at 33 and wonder at the immaturity of the love I feel now. I mean, I can only imagine that my love for Patrick will continue to grow and deepen so that the love I feel for him now will seem the same way the love I felt at 21 seems now. (That was some pathetic sentence for this English major!)
We’re about to set out on a huge adventure together. We are holding hands and jumping straight into the arms of Jesus, trusting Him to take care of us and our children as we abandon everything for Him. By God’s grace, I told Patrick last year that I trusted him to listen to God and lead our family where God wants us to go and that wherever he takes me will be our home. God gave me the peace that He will guide us, and that He will do it without my help, thank you very much. 🙂 Probably for the first time in our marriage, I have been able to fully trust God and Patrick. I tell you, I am a slow learner. But I am so thankful I’m learning this because it feels so good. I’m so much more at peace. And my marriage, my relationship with Patrick, has never been better. What a difference it makes when the wife really trusts her husband!
So, here we go . . . . together, one flesh, one heart, one mind setting off for the future God is giving us. I’m a bright-eyed girl in love and I don’t know if I’ve ever smiled more or felt happier than I do now.