When I was in elementary and middle school we often played kickball or capture the flag during recess. The boys always had the privilege of being captain and choosing teams. This seemed unfair, but somehow we all agreed to it and stood around anxiously waiting to be chosen. Lucky for me, I usually got picked near the beginning. As a self-conscious and very aware young girl with pink glasses and a boyish hair style, I knew that being chosen wasn’t because I was cute. It’s because the boys knew I could run. Fast.
Whether in sports, cooking in the kitchen, folding laundry, walking into the store–I try to move as quickly and efficiently as possible. It might not be perfect, but I’ll get it done. Somehow only having to endure for a relatively short period of time seems easy, regardless of the situation.
Unfortunately, life is not like this. I cannot sprint my way through any of it. Believe me, I’ve tried, and every time I end up frustrated, exhausted and disappointed.
At the beginning of September we celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. A milestone, for sure. And we’ve learned a few things over the past ten years. One of which was summarized well in a conversation with my husband.
On a recent date, I asked him, “If you could give an unmarried person marriage advice now, ten years in, what would you say?”
His response was pretty quick, “I’d tell them to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
We wanted things to be perfect in the beginning. And it was frustrating when they weren’t. Why can’t this be easy? Why is getting to know this person, loving them, and connecting with them so hard now that we’re married? What went wrong?
Looking back now I can see that nothing went wrong. We just had the wrong perspective. We wanted it all right now.
Know everything about this person immediately.
Learn how to work well together on projects the first time.
Agree on parenting issues in every situation.
Enjoy the same types of hobbies.
Share similar values on how to spend and save money.
Like the same people and quickly establish relationships.
Always be ready for sex, giving and receiving it freely and enthusiastically.
It quickly became apparent that these things don’t happen overnight.
Ten years in and we have learned to be patient. Because if things had come easily and quickly we wouldn’t treasure what is now ours.
Ten years in and we appreciate one another more deeply. We marvel at the new things we’re still uncovering about one another. We still disagree on things, but the amount of time it takes to work through an issue has lessened. We’ve learned how to communicate through our differing opinions. We’ve come to appreciate the different ways that we approach life. Sex does get better. I can’t wait to see what the next decade will reveal in all of these areas.
We participated in a vow renewal in the spring as part of The Big Fake Wedding. Not only was it fun to have hair extensions, fake eyelashes, and wear a designer gown, but we also had the privilege of writing our own vows–something we didn’t do on our wedding day. I love what Bradley shared in his:
Lauren, as your husband, I promise that each day I will probably disappoint you in some way. That I will often be selfish in the use of my time and energy. That I will put my needs and wants first. That I will leave you more than your share of the work around our home and with our children. I promise that I will fail to live up to your expectations and dreams of what a husband should be. But I also promise that each day I will wrestle against my many flaws. That I will struggle daily to be better than I was the day before. That I will strive to live as an exemplary and ideal husband. And with God’s grace and yours, each passing day, month, and year will be marked by my ever growing love and devotion to you, my provision and protection of our family, and my faithfulness and commitment to the Lord. I love you with every fiber of my being. You’re my favorite forever.
Ten years in and we’ve learned that we are going to fail one another. Often. And it’s a daily struggle to strive, by the grace of God, to love and honor one another.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment that can’t be rushed. Just like a marathon, it requires discipline, effort, and pushing through the difficult times.
Ten years in and we’ve learned it’s worth it.