Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary. Thirteen is a nondescript number, not like the tenth or the twenty-fifth, when trips or parties are almost required rites of passage. Thirteen is thirteen: solid, sturdy, moving steadily along.
Thirteen, I’ve discovered, is also the anniversary where I can no longer remember not being married. I don’t remember having to say goodbye, and I don’t recall our third date or the specifics of the first time I met his family. I don’t remember knowing Kyle but at the same time not knowing him intimately. He is so much a part of me now, our lives so entwined, that I don’t know—and don’t want to know—life without him.
Thirteen is solid, sturdy, and steady, but it feels also that we’re moving further away from our youth and the sense of adventure we had when we were free from the burdens and responsibilities of family-hood and ministry.
Perhaps I can’t remember not being married because we have lived such a full, adventurous life together--burdens, responsibilities, and all. How have thirteen years contained it all? Ministries, babies, homes, challenges, moves, trips, personal pursuits. As we reflected on our anniversary, my husband said to me, “Our marriage has been full because we haven’t let fear dictate anything. We’ve done things that require faith. I want to keep doing that.” Yes, that exactly.
I’ve never forgotten what my best friend’s grandmother wrote on the card attached to her wedding gift to us. She simply wrote: “May your marriage make a difference for the kingdom of God.” I try to remember to write the same sentiment to brides and grooms that my husband marries or who we buy a gift for because I think it’s a beautiful blessing and because I think it’s exactly what I want marriages to be, mine included.
I do want my marriage to make a difference for the kingdom of God. I want the way we talk to each other, parent our children, enjoy each other, partner together in ministry, and care for one another give notice that there is a God who wildly loves and enjoys His bride.
And I also want to live adventures of faith alongside the man God has given me. I want the next 13 years to feel more like 26 because we live so abundantly and faith-fully and we squeeze every ounce out of each day that we can. Together.
Today is likely not your thirteenth wedding anniversary, but it is a day where you can practice the hard work of forgiveness and sacrificial service. It’s a day when you can build rather than tear down. It’s a day when you can look at your husband when he’s unaware and marvel that God has given you such a man, flaws and all. It’s a day when you can do something that requires faith and look at that something as a together adventure.
Anniversaries are milestones, reasons to stop and celebrate. But they don’t carry the weight of the other 364 days, everyday days full of everyday things that build an extraordinary lifetime.
Happy Anniversary, Babe! I’m so grateful to be married to man like you. I love you.