At our wedding we had 1 Corinthians 13 read and not because this is one of the most widely read passages at weddings (well, maybe it was). I would quote it here, but if you don’t already know what I am referring to, please look it up. My husband and I discussed it and decided that this passage contains a very comprehensive list of those facets of love that we strive for. Note here the use of the word strive.
Love is patient, Love is kind…
Our wedding day was no less than perfect; despite the cramped quarters and rain storm that hit later in the evening. You see, the day was perfect to us, but in reality it really wasn’t. We didn’t look as good as the filtered and edited photos showed afterwards and Lord knows my eye lashes have never been that lustrous. It was, however, the perfect picture of the union we were entering into: messy, complicated, but filled with blessing and beauty.
You see, about 8 weeks before our out of state wedding (in Michigan) I received a letter from my neighbors when I lived there. They were cordially invited to the ceremony and I so looked forward to seeing them again. In the letter contained a series of news clippings about how our wedding venue, The Weaver House, had collapsed.
Yes, you heard me right. Our wedding venue collapsed. There was an event and during it the deck on the old farm house literally collapsed and people fell into a large whole made by the splintered wood. People were hurt, ambulances were called, yellow do not enter tape went up. Thankfully, aside from some broken bones, there were not any more serious injuries.
As you can imagine I was horrified. The calm and collected bride-mode that I was so proud of (my husband of course had a different perspective), instantly evaporated and that night I was sobbing in the shower: why me! Why us?!
The next couple days were filled with calls and quandaries about how to proceed. Rent a large tent? Change venues? Hope for the best?
We decided on the latter. With my husbands help, I decided the show would go on even though most of the venue would be closed. This was tough for someone who has control issues (that sounds better than control freak, no?)
How did things turn out? Well let me tell you, they turned out perfectly. I was able to let go of the event of our wedding and focus on what it was really about: declaring before God and our close family and friends that we were giving our lives to one another, committing to love one another no matter what. No matter what may collapse in the future, no matter what might not turn out how we expect, no matter what the mountains and valleys of life looked like for us.
Messy, complicated, but filled with blessing and beauty: our love…and it is in marriage I am learning some pretty important things about my self, about love and about what is most important. One of those things we have committed to as a partnership is to be ever learning. It is in this spirit that I’d like to share 7 things that I’m learning from my husband.
1. I am beautiful
Years of self-doubt and self-hate are being rebuilt every time he encourages me with these words: you are beautiful. When I’m sick, no make up, wearing pjs for days ( I can justify this with infant twins), or “the most pregnant person I’ve ever seen,” he still tells me I am beautiful. Usually I just roll my eyes or laugh a little laugh letting him know I am still uncomfortable in my postpartum skin, but still he perseveres and makes it a point to let me know I am beautiful to him, no matter what I look like.
2. I can be annoying (but cute); I can be immature (but still lovely)
No matter what I can have assurance that I am loved. My husband does not love me less because I may be having a tantrum or ultra-hormonal or just pissed because he still hasn’t taken out the recycling or never cleans the toilet. He loves me no matter what! And there is such freedom in this but also responsibility.
3. Differences are ok
My husband is a scientist and I am a social worker and stay at home mom. We couldn’t be more different in some of the things we like, do in our free time or watch on tv. Despite these differences, what we hold similar (and again, not identical but similar): our values and thoughts on faith and parenting, is a strong foundation on which the other things can balance. Not to mention I’m learning more about plasma fusion – thanks, honey!
4. Challenges can be overcome because Love conquers all
You may have read in previous posts that we have twins, 3 months old. About a month and a half after our wedding, little did we know at the time, our precious ones were cooking. Not only was the pregnancy challenging and extremely uncomfortable and ripe with hormones that turned me into someone neither of us knew, I was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia after I was released from the hospital following my c-section. What this meant was I was rushed by ambulance after what I know could have been tragic: my feeling that something wasn’t right and my husbands listening to my plea for him to call 911.
I was then readmitted to the hospital and treated and tested. My husband faithfully brought our days old twins back and forth to my room on the 5th floor every day until I came home. I was heart broken and scared, having the greatest joys of my life introduced to me and then the threat of losing it all. Words cannot describe how challenging this was. But we overcame. Together, we got thru it. And daily we conquer this thing called twin parenting.
5. It’s ok to look on the bright side
Before I met my husband I did consider myself to be a pretty faithful person. And by faithful I don’t mean religious, I mean hopeful. Little did I know that in fact, I am a “worst case scenario” survivor. What does this mean? Well, I generally always imagine the worst case scenario happening. Now, this might be remnants from a traumatic young adulthood, a way to protect myself from those bad things that inevitably did happen. I’m not sure though I have tried to psychoanalyze and diagnose myself. What I do know is almost always those worst case scenarios that I feared or fear now never happen. I am safe.
My husband, on the other hand, always looks on the bright side, sees a silver lining and points it out. Now for someone of my temperament, this can be quite annoying. But also such a learning opportunity. It’s ok to be hopeful. Good things do happen.
6. The best job on earth is parenthood
This has been the most humbling by far. Wow – parenthood! Something I’ve dreamed of for years, never thought was possible, and now I’m living it double with twins! (Just a side note, neither of us have twins in our family and we did not do IVF). It’s amazing! But also so hard and everyday I pray I can be the best mom I can for my babies.
Demolition derby: this is also parenting. You know, when old beat up cars with loud engines drive around a muddy race track and slam into each other. By the end of the race the strongest cars are still circling around the track, but they are missing doors, mirrors, some of them tires and other car parts (car and racing enthusiasts please fill in the blank).
7. The toughest, most rewarding relationship is marriage
For all of the above points and then some.
Thank you, baby. I love you.
My husband is not perfect and he would be the first to say that I am not perfect either. But together we can keep learning, growing, and loving. I pray that you find the same or the same finds you.
For those who are waiting and hoping and praying to find love: keep waiting and hoping and praying.