February 28, 2014

3 Years

Three years ago we made a marriage covenant in a clearing in the woods. The trees were heavy with snow and the sky was bright. It was 18 degrees that day and enormous, fluffy flakes fell gently all day long, like Narnia. I love that we made our covenant in such a unique place. I also love that every time it snows big, fat flakes my husband says, “It’s Narnia snow, Dear,” and we share a look that remembers that afternoon underneath our ‘wedding tree.’ It is such a beautiful memory.

I don’t know if my husband thinks of our wedding day whenever I wear the blue stadium coat that I wore over my wedding dress, but I do. I think of sitting in my car with Melinda at the wheel and the little girls in the back. We sang Lincoln Brewster’s ‘Today is the Day.’  

I am so proud of what Bryon and I have accomplished in the past 1,095 days. Of course I haven’t blogged it all because believe it or not, I don’t share everything. Plowman was totally right; it is the hard patches that knit your marriage together the tightest. I love each and every experience we've had. It's been a really good 1,095 days.

God remains at the helm of our family. He is our Savior and our protector. I am in love with how my husband holds my hands at bedtime to pray. I love how we've grown as a Christian family. We continue to look for ways to grow as a Christian husband and wife every day. I know this has been the single most important thing in our marriage.

Bryon Ray is my best friend and I know without any doubt in the world that I am his, too. That is an amazing feeling. I know that when he leans against me in the kitchen or puts his head in my lap, he's needing me. When he spills his work guts on me, that is needing me, too. When he fills my car with gas and gets the kids ready for school, that is taking care of me. That man makes a hero's effort to listen and to learn me, too. He's won my heart forever. 

We communicate a lot! We argue more than I thought we would in the beginning. But now that we’re settled into Us, I wonder how couldn’t we? We are both strong and stubborn. Additionally, we've both been hurt by our ex-spouses deeper than any wound, and come back from that having learned a million lessons. Defense is a reflex sometimes. It’s hard to put your pride down when you’re talking to your forever spouse (as opposed to the ex-ghost in your head) but we’re getting much better at it now. There is nothing flimsy about us or our love. We are all in and that means thick passion to the hilt. It feels good. And making up is my favorite.

Having ex-spouses is a complication that is unique to remarriage. It would be disingenuous of me not to mention this, or to talk about how we've handled it because it is huge. I can tell you that neither of us was prepared enough for this complication in the beginning. Having exes is irritating no matter what kind of people they are and their involvement can become destructive to a marriage. That's just the truth of it. The past 3 years has felt like a training class, part storytelling and part jujitsu. We’re still learning. We try to be proactive and defend our boundaries. We've learned to jealously guard our marriage because exes can assume that old intimacy still exists. There can be a tendency to 'take advantage' sometimes. Old ghosts resurface. Prayer becomes like breathing. We've learned to press on and be merciful anyway. We forgive continually. And we make the best decisions we can together, in consideration of our family first. I cannot reflect on our three years without recognizing the two people who have STRENGTHENED OUR MARRIAGE immeasurably. Both Bryon and I were hard-forged; we lived ugly before. We scraped and clawed to cling to hope and the promise of love in the middle. And now we stand solid together because of the hard patches we've knit up and survived together.   

Boundaries are important in any relationship. Identify your values and protect them before anything else, People, because the devil preys. I can assure you that if something crosses a boundary in our marriage, we both react like ninjas. Sorry, worldly temptations – you can’t have us or our kids. Sorry, dishonest friend – I don’t think so. Sorry, porn – you don’t belong here. Sorry, person taking advantage - no thanks. Neither one of us allows the other to be taken advantage of or bullied anymore – like, ever. We protect one another like WHOA. I love that. You can’t mess with just one of us; it doesn't happen. You get both jujitsu ninjas and we’ll both be smiling and holding hands when we show up at your door, too. We operate as a team; we are ONE. *Knuckles, Babe.*

He still makes my panties end up in the ceiling fan and I went to work with a hickey this week. So there is that. And That would make the paint peel off of the walls it's so fabulous.

You know what? More than anything, we are HAPPY. Like, wow happy! Of course there are gloomy days and please do note the aforementioned patches we've navigated in the past 1,095 days. But really, Jesus, thank you. We recently wandered around a bookstore for an hour for absolutely no reason and laughed and made faces until we cried. We returned home from a dinner date and shot moose together for 2 hours. We PLAY and hold hands all the time. We encourage one another, even if that means being tough on each other. We try to serve one another the way Christ intended. That, I've never had - and that, I really, really appreciate.  

Three years later and I am overcome with gratitude for this man and for our marriage. We share a beautiful family, which we parent together without exception. I am so grateful for the way God has blended all 6 of us. The seams are all His doing and boy howdy, they are tight.

I'm such a lucky girl.

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