Friday, August 13, 2010

v2, d142: Last Five Years

Today is/was Kim and I's five year anniversary.  And you know what?  I don't think a lot of people realize what an accomplishment that really is. 

Not to toot my own horn here or anything, but if there's anything I've learned in the last five years it's that having a healthy marriage is hard.  So hard, it's not something I can say I've successfully accomplished at all times over the past half decade.  There have been times when I really have just not been up to the task, and we've paid for it.  And then we spent time building ourselves back up into something better and stronger than we were before.  And when I've fallen, it's happened so subtly and usually when I've had the best of intentions.  It's just really stinking hard to always have a good marriage.  Life becomes harder when you're married.  Marriage is the most difficult thing I've ever accomplished or considered attempting in my life.  Everything about life becomes multiplied by two, and it's not only your own struggles that are a part of your life anymore, it's your partner's, too. 

And I'm pretty sure I'm not making this up or exaggerating, either.  Look around.  Everybody knows multiple couples who have gotten divorced.  In fact, I'm pretty sure everybody who reads this knows more than one couple who split after fewer than five years.  When I've seen a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, I've always thought, "Wow, those are some awesome, dedicated, strong people who are really committed to one another."  What I've recently learned, though, is that the same can be said of the couple who's stuck through fifteen years.  Through ten.  Even through five. 

Believe me, this isn't a "Poor me, life is so hard!" post.  I'm just saying that these realizations have really encouraged me to celebrate this date in a way I never really have before.  Because as much as the struggles, stresses, and fears of life are multiplied in a way you can never really be prepared for until it hits you, the same thing has to be said for the joys, the victories, and the celebrations.  While it's true I'll always feel like I've let my family down when I've failed, adding extra weight to the fall, I also have someone who shares in my victory when, by the grace of God, I succeed at something.  Likewise, I feel each of Kim's joys as genuinely as I feel my own.  And there's been a lot to celebrate during our relatively short time together, just as there's been a lot to grieve over. 

And, of course, that's life.  That's all of life, married, single, with children, without them, in a good job, in a bad job, young, old.  It's a series of wins and losses.  Sometimes the wins seem pretty insignificant, but they're still wins.  Looking back on all the hits Kim and I have taken--and are currently taking, because we're facing some big uncertainties every day as it is--I feel simultaneously proud and humbled that we have managed to get to this point.  I thank God a little more deeply for the blessings that have always been there in the good times and in the chaos.  I hear echoes of the testimonies of senior couples I've known--"We've been down before, but somehow we always made it through"--and I realize that's our story in the making.  And it gives a bit of peace; a bit of hope. 

I really do hate to gush about my marriage on this blog, because I know a lot of my readers are single, and that that's a painful truth for some.  But, in an age where marriages--especially young ones--are falling flat left and right because young lovers weren't prepared to be tempest-tossed, in days when cynicism and "modern living" seek to assassinate the romantic mystique of "till death do us part," in a time when bleeding hearts are doubting they'll ever be whole, I pray that God will bring glory to Himself and encouragement to others through our story. 

I thank everyone who celebrated with Kim and I in any fashion today, whether it was a Facebook comment or a tweet or a text or a kind word or free babysitting.  Or even just being happy with us.  A lot happens in five years.  A lot happens in five years.  I don't know where we'd be without the love and support of each of you in the down times, nor your laughter and fellowship in days of joy. 

Today, I really am incredibly blessed.