John and I have been married for 3 years today! Awesome. 🙂 As we reach this chapter in our marriage I have received/observed a variety of opinions (which I think are more accurately labeled “reflections from personal experience”) on three years of marriage.
These opinions typically (though not always) fall under three categories:
1) Still Newlyweds 2) Flickering Romance 3) Where are the Kids?
Still Newlyweds – You don’t know what it’s “really like” being married…
I’ve noticed that this opinion is present every year and that couples who have been married for 10+ years get the same kind of rhetoric from couples who have been married for 20+ years and so on and so forth. In that case, does ANY one know what it’s “really like”? And, who gets to decide when you’ve “arrived”?
Regardless, I am exceedingly thankful for where we are now. John is my best friend. I really can’t think of anyone else who I would rather share everything with. And I mean
laundry, dishes, conflict, Star Trek Marathons, bowls of ice cream EVERYTHING. I live with his shortcomings and he with mine. It takes a real man to love this clumsy, absent-minded, snoring, guffawing mess.
We’re one! What a remarkable truth and what a safe haven for my mountain of insecurities. I have no idea how this falls under “knowing what it’s like” but I can tell you this much — I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Flickering Romance – Three years is enough time for you to realize that marriage is way more work than you bargained for. You’re probably feeling a bit disappointed by the whole experience, huh?
1) I am not naive enough to believe that John and I will always have stomachs full of butterflies and hearts bursting with uncontrollable passion. I think it’s safe to say: we’ve passed the honeymoon stage. We aren’t blindly enamored by the newness of married life, it’s just become a part of who we are. Him in me, I in Him.
2) Our marriage doesn’t take “more work” it takes the same amount of “work” that God required of us from the beginning:
“Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord… Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:22 &25
I’ve heard it said that “familiarity can breed contempt.” And I think that’s why people assume, after a certain point, marriage is a disappointing, fairy-tale-gone-wrong relationship. It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, John and I don’t have the same mushy-gushy lovey-dovey fuzzy-wuzzy (somebody stop me…) feelings we once had all the time. Now we have a marriage.
Familiarity can also breed security, freedom, peace, a REFUGE. That’s what our marriage is growing into. We can’t build a foundation on mushy-wuzzy feelings. We are called to build it on the covenant we made before the one true God on our wedding day three years ago. We also don’t build that foundation alone, the Holy Spirit is (and continues to be) our helper.
Sometimes that means we have conflict and go through the process of resolving it. Which can be as easy as, “Woops. I’m sorry, I definitely misunderstood what you meant. Friends? Friends!” and as difficult as, “I just can’t be in the same room right now.. I’ll be back in a bit to talk it out after I’ve cooled off.”
Sometimes it means saying “No” to good fun with good people because you haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk to your spouse, face-to-face, in 1-2-3 weeks.
Sometimes it means you come home to a beautiful bouquet of roses on the table from a husband who knows you, and knows you are going through a difficult time. Sometimes it means waking up 20 minutes earlier during finals week so you have time to prepare his favorite crockpot dish or make him a hot cup of tea before leaving for work.
So while some equate familiarity with disinterest, I see it as a great blessing.
Where are the kids? – Does this really need an explanation?
This opinion is pretty exclusive, as it’s constituents are family and close friends. You guys are relentless! 😉 Our response: they aren’t here yet! Lord-willing we will one day have a family. Maybe the Lord will give us a great big surprise before John graduates and our “perfect little plan” will be interrupted by God’s “I’m-sovereign-I-do-what-I-want plan.” Usually that ends up happening, so who knows?! In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying loving all over the kiddos we know and picking your brains on parenting.
My conclusion, after reflecting on three years of marriage to John: good call.
And, uh, just for the record, I still get butterflies in my stomach. 🙂