On Sunday, Phil and I celebrate six years of marriage. Last year’s anniversary was a big deal for us, and you can read my reflections on that here. We don’t have anything extra special planned this weekend and though I believe every year of marriage is important, some years are more low-key than others.
This is one of those years.
I could probably write a book about what I’ve learned through marriage in six years, but in keeping with the low-key spirit of things, I’m focusing instead on five words I’ve found to be important to our marriage.
1. Grace. Lots of people will tell you that all you need for a successful marriage is love. I think love is important but it’s not always enough. We all need grace, married or not, and grace has been a key player in our marriage.
2. Yes. There’s a place for the word “no” in every relationship and “no” can be healthy. But “no” can also be a door slamming in your face. No, I won’t try that. No, we won’t do that. No, I’m not open to doing it differently. “Yes” is an open mind, a bridge, full of possibility.
3. Today. We come into marriage with the baggage of yesterday and dreams for tomorrow. And sometimes today gets lost in between. We have to deal with the past but not live there. We have to hope for the future but we’re not there yet. Today is important and special. I don’t want to miss out on what today has to offer because I’m looking back or ahead all the time.
4. Us. That whole two-becoming-one thing is something I don’t fully understand, but what I do understand is that Phil and I are a team. And we’re on the same team. And while we still have individual personalities and goals and interests, we are part of something that’s bigger than either one of us separately. And the decisions we make are for the good of our family, the four of us living in the walls of this house, and for the good of our marriage. Maybe one time when an us-versus-them mentality is okay.
5. Help. We learned the hard way that we can’t do this on our own. We need God. And married friends who have been married longer than we have. We need teachers, pastors and counselors. (And babysitters; how could I forget babysitters?) Our marriage is personal, yes, but it’s also meant to be communal, as in part of a community. We need help to navigate the seas of marriage because otherwise, we are sunk.
What words have been helpful to your marriage journey?