We celebrated our anniversary a few days ago. So many years together–suffice it to say we’ve grown up together and have mellowed well with age.
Memories of our wedding are still very clear. I was the first in my family to get married, and back in the day, the wedding was more about the parents since they paid for everything. Mom had given me the choice of two wedding dresses to choose from that she liked. She picked out the invitations, colors, flowers.
I was grateful to be the one walking down the aisle.
What John and I didn’t know was how naive and unprepared we were for marriage. We’d dated for four years and thought we knew each other.
We’d seen each other at our best; we knew we were right for one another. We agreed early on we’d get married but waited to finish college.
Marriage was a rude awakening.
Gone was the man who wooed me every chance he got. Gone was the girl who always looked her best, always had something nice to say.
We became our real selves.
Our stories impact marriage; each of us had different role models in our parents to gauge what being married should be. I was raised in the suburbs with a mom who was quite vocal about what wasn’t right, where appearances meant everything. John was raised in a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business and weren’t afraid to talk about it.
I had big emotions. John stuffed his. I’d learned how to argue out loud. John had learned to not argue back.
It’s been a learning curve these many years. But it’s been worth the journey.
We’ve made many mistakes along the way. We’ve hurt one another and others, and we’ve made horrible decisions. Our mistakes often outweighed our best efforts, but we have stayed the course, and I love him now more than I did the day we married.
We had to learn to forgive each other for our imperfections.
Any relationship takes work. Commitment is needed if we choose to learn about and care for someone else. Quitting can’t be an option.
I don’t want to quit on someone because they make a comment I don’t agree with. I want to know them better because of it, to understand our differences so I can grow as a person. I want to be free to forgive, to lay the groundwork for continued relationship.
The apostle Paul stated, “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Forgiveness is what most of us long for, to know we’re absolved of the hurtful things we’ve done or said so we don’t carry unnecessary shame and guilt with us. Forgiveness lets go of the hurt others have caused us.
In his song, “Just The Two Of Us”, Will Smith said, “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, because hate in your heart will consume you too.”
Marriage, like any worthwhile relationship, takes forgiveness, which is work.
People are worth the work of forgiveness.