This week holds two emotion-filled dates for me. Twenty two years ago was a very significant first date…my last first date, actually. And eighteen years ago I was front and center at a wedding…mine.
I remember that first date so clearly. What I wore, what he wore, where we went. I remember butterflies and not believing I was actually on a real date with my years-long crush.
And I, of course, remember my wedding day. My dress was gorgeous, if I say so myself. The church was candlelit, reminiscent of my childhood sanctuary. The reception was a grand party filled with music and laughter. And yet, the entire day, I was unsure yet resolved. There was an argument in the limo between the wedding and reception. And I walked into married life scared, and doubtful of my ability to keep it all going for the rest of my life. But I walked into it nonetheless.
I’ve asked Jesus to walk me gently through this week. This will be the first year that we will not acknowledge these dates to each other. The first year I will not pull out my wedding video and watch the vows, the songs, the dancing.
In a season of goodbyes and disentangling, my mindset might seem odd to some, but my marriage meant something. Every moment was not tear-filled, though many, many were. And even the ones that were, well…I purposely stayed through the tears for as long as I was able. Those years are worth honoring.
And so I am choosing to honor my marriage this week through reminiscing over the sweeter times and through praying for my spouse and my children. I’m going to let this week remind me that good did indeed come from the hard, that I have two magnificent children from that union, that Jesus was ever-present in each memory, and that marriage always was and always will be designed as a good, sweet gift. So this week, I am choosing gratitude in the pain.