In 13 Years




It was 13 years ago that I stood in front of several hundred witnesses, promising all sorts of things to a man I realize now, I hardly knew.  I still remember the day – how beautiful I felt, and yet how self-conscious.  How excited I was, and yet how my hands were trembling.  How I loved my veil, and hated my shoes.  How I thought my eye shadow was too dark, and I wondered whether anyone else would notice.  How my heart fluttered at the sight of Pat, all the while my eyes filled with tears at the thought of leaving my Dad.  I recall the conflict of emotions as my very first man walked me toward my new man, letting go of my uncertain hand and ushering me toward adult-hood.

That was 13 years ago.

In the span between, 4 children have been born to us, and we have been thrown into the bigger realities at the speed of life.  There have been good days and bad.  There have been good years and bad.  And whether the sun has shone or the days have been dark, we have learned.

13 years in, I feel like we are barely scratching the surface of what we know of love.  But there are a handful of truths we have absorbed along the bumpy way.


Love is a Verb

I am a words woman.  I faithfully express 20,000 or so on an average day – more if we are disagreeing.  My husband, like many men, does not.  He daily expresses 7,000 or so – less if we are disagreeing.

One of the monuments I built to self when we were dating, is the confidence that I could make Pat a talker.   That with enough coercion, I could make him a chattery girl-friend, who would read my thoughts and intuitively speak to my every insecurity.

emma and elinor

After 13 years, I have grown to recognize that my husband does not need to exhaust the English language in order to demonstrate his love for me.  Rather, like most prefer, he loves with action and intent.  He meets needs with kindness and loyalty.  He steps into many exhausted situations and rescues.  He does this because he equates love with service.

And the simplicity of love = service is the oil that keeps the engine of a marriage running on many a weary day.

Children Rescue

Children are absurd, aren’t they?

I truly think our kids are the funniest beings around, and daily they surprise me with their quick wit and easy humor.  Kids possess a unique ability to dismantle tension through simply not noticing it.

silly kids 2

They take the shambles of a difficult day, and force laughter and light with their jokes and antics.  Their joy and love not only  supports and reinforces our married love, but working toward their mutual good solidifies our unity as a couple.

Our kids save us many days, and I hope we always let them know it.


As You Multiply, You Will be Tempted to Divide

Nonetheless, there are challenges associated with married parenting. The sweet little blessings who share our DNA, mirroring all that we appreciate best and dislike most of ourselves, have a strong and steady hold on us at all times.  As I type this post, our oldest rarely goes to bed before 10pm anymore, and our youngest seems to have taken to moon-lighting, waking up at 3 am with urgent needs like, “My slipper fell off”.

tiny baby

Parenting is not for cowards, and one of the most daunting take-away’s is perpetual exhaustion, which becomes spousal lethargy.  My Dad {a father of 5} once warned us of the temptation to divide as we multiplied our family.  His words have spurred us on in various ways, one of the simplest of which is securing a monthly baby-sitter.

Too many marriages are becoming mathematical statistics, and I do not want ours to be a lesson in division.


You Will Break Your Best Goals Sometimes {And that is Okay}

Pat and I cooed at one another while dating, stating that we would never raise our voices at each other, or our future children.  13 years in, there is a basket in our living room that has the top smashed in because I broke my word and something had to take the rap {or the wrath, in this case}.  Marriage can, and will reach a boiling point from time to time.  But our basket survived, and somehow there is healthy symbolism in its damaged, yet functioning top.


Life is Hard, But God is Good

Marriage has its challenges not so much because it is intrinsically difficult, but because it takes place in the middle of every other part of life.  Better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health is the broader context for our vows.  And being poor {not rich}, facing long-term illness {not health}, living through the worse {not better} years, can be discouraging, and will easily force to the surface the integrity of married vows.

We were not meant to “do” marriage alone, as solitary units.  We have a God who has gone before us and who stands behind us in all of the intricacies of family life.

We trust His goodness, and not our own.  We rely on His grace, because we will run out.

And we rest our confidence in His faithfulness, because He alone will enable us to be faithful, ’til death do us part.







Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

7 thoughts on “In 13 Years

  1. This is a beautiful post! We recently celebrated our 13th as well, and as we reminisced it struck us too how little we knew each other back then. How you think you’re so in love (and you are), but what you don’t realize is how much that love grows and matures! Thanks for this post, Maryanne – very uplifting!

  2. Thank you for sharing Maryanne. I love hearing your thoughts on marriage because I always think of you guys first when picturing a perfect marriage. I don’t mean perfect in that you never disagree and are actually perfect human beings, but because you have a healthy respect for the imperfection and difficulties that come with sharing every bit of life with one person. It’s a beautiful and very difficult thing. I have failed once at it and I have learned a lot in how to not let that happen again. I love the harsh truths in your blog post, but people need to be realistic in marriage. Being realistic and understanding to the reality of marriage is what will a make a couple successful in their marriage.

  3. I love your many words;)! So refreshing to hear about your happy but real life and marriage! So happy for y’all!

  4. congratulations on your anniversary! Thank-you for sharing the broken basket, I have a broken window in a french door that stood in the way of me sweeping my floor furiously….

  5. Maryanne, What a great post! My husband and I will be married for 13 years in August. I can relate to what you have written. Keep on blogging. I love reading your reflections, inspirations, and your challenges. The books that you recommend are also on my “hit” list.
    ps- That conference looked great. A writing a seminar and meeting authors- thats my dream!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge