Twenty-five years. It’s so hard to believe. Twenty-five years ago a 19 year-old girl and a 22 year-old guy made vows to God and each other in front of more than 300 people that they would love, honor, and respect each other, for the rest of their lives. And here we are!
I remember having a conversation with Mark when we first talked about getting married, Mark asked if we were too young, stated that we had a lot of growing up to do. I agreed that we had a lot of growing up to do, but said that we could do it together. And we did! We grew up together as we learned to manage our finances, if you know me, you know there were tears involved! We grew together as we moved to Lima, OH, where we knew no one and began our youth ministry there, and bought our first home. We grew as we became parents at the age of 22 and 25. We grew as we made the decision, together to move to Milwaukee, WI (YAY!). We grew together as we discussed situations as they arose. As we welcomed another baby at the ages of 24 and 27 and adjusted to 2 children, we grew. Every step of the way, we grew, but we grew together.
After we bought our house in Cudahy, in 2003, I remember specifically that I had upset someone from the church and they called me to tell me as much, and when the conversation was over, I called Mark, because I wanted to confess to him, before she told him what I had done. This person had said something to me that confirmed what I had always felt, that he was the better person. When I called him, I was in tears, and I told him what I had done and what she had said. I was prepared to be scolded, which by the way he had never done… but he just asked me if it was true. To which I said, “I don’t know.” and he reassured me, “Of course, it isn’t true!” and then we finished our conversation, he assured me he loved me. I was reminded at that time, that he had my back. That he loved me more than his work, that I was the most important person to him. In the thick of learning how to be a mom, I had lost the “feeling” of being a girl in love, but he brought it back. In that moment there was growth.
When our house burned down, God was our strength, and Mark’s positive attitude helped me to grow, so we held each others hands and moved forward. In fact, the morning before our house burned down, he told me I could go back to school and after, he made sure that I enrolled, and did SO much around the house, and with the girls (with the help of my mom), to make sure that I finished my degree. We grew together.
When my best friend, Lori, was diagnosed with cancer, he gave me the freedom to cry and yell, and work out my emotions, and talk with me after the outburst, and work through what I was thinking. When Lori died, he preached the funeral, he never told me then, but a couple of years later, he told me it was the hardest funeral he’s ever done, the wife of one of his closest friends, and the best friend of his wife. The grief was THICK. We grew in this time, together.
As we have made our most recent move, there has been a lot of growing. And we continue to do it together. You know people do change over the years, we need to give freedom for that, but as married couples we need to grow together. Don’t let the situations of life tear you apart. I remember in High School, my senior year, my Bible Teacher, Pastor Paul Cady, taught us a Marriage and Family course, and in the course he drew a triangle with the wife at one point on the bottom and the husband at opposite side, with God on the top. He showed us that if we each grow closer to God, that we will also grow closer to each other. Also interesting to note, that even if only one spouse grows closer to God, your still are not any further from the initial position from your spouse…just sayin’.
I want to encourage you to do life together. Tackle challenges together. Have fun together. Grow in God. And grow together. It makes life so full.