Saturday, February 12, 2005

23 years and counting...

It was 23 years ago today that I became a married woman. Wow. I reflect over the years gone by and am just glad it is today. I know the sum of all these years add up to today but I prefer today to all of them.

Twenty three years ago we went to a local justice of the peace, forgot we needed rings(we took my engagement ring off my finger and used it as the wedding band), forgot we could have brought a camera and only brought one witness. Thankfully the local JP had a daughter old enough to be the other witness. The funniest thing that happened during the service was when I said, "I take you, Jim, to be my awfully wedded husband..." Oh, the nerves were ragged. We didn't dare look at each other at this point because we knew we would end up hysterical with laughter.

The wedding was the easy part. We were married 5 days when I had my first (and thankfully only) blackout from drinking. Jim had no idea he had married an alcoholic. (we started out as teenage penpals and had only spent maybe a month total together before we married) It was about 4 months before we had an argument. I remember thinking pre argument that marriage was easy. Well it was a downhill slide from there that saw us, among other things, move 9 times in the first three years of marriage.

Without both of us turning to God for help we would either be divorced or very unhappy in our marriage today. Undoubtedly I would have lost the kids to either social services or to their dad. It was not pretty. We get pretty teary when we look back and see how tenuous our hold was on hanging in there. On our own strength we wouldn't have made it. I'd still be fighting tooth and nail to be right about the whole world and everything in it. I can't imagine throwing teenagers into that mix and coming out sane.

The biggest blessing of these past few years, when life's circumstances crapped all over us, is that I lost my need to be right about everything. I only had so much energy and I saw that spending it on winning every conversation was a poor choice of using up my reserve. We learned to pull together as a team for the first time in our marriage. I've said before it's pure grace and I still say it.

We both came to the table with a shitload of baggage neither one of us knew we had. Our own brands of dysfunction were normal to each of us. When we look at it all now we see that we've made pretty well every mistake they list that would sink a marriage and then some. We continue to learn. We continue to love. We do it imperfectly. And for today I am perfectly fine with that.

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