|The younger us, over ten years ago... but the happier us just keeps getting happier.|
A decade is a period of ten years. As of today – New Year’s Eve, 2012 – that’s how long Lisa and I have been married. Happy anniversary, Lisa!
Ten years is a long time in marriage years, especially the way society has become so comfortable with the idea of divorce. As of about 6:15 P.M., Lisa and I will officially hit that ten year mark. That’s 120 months, or a little more than 521 weeks, or 87,672 hours, or 5,260,320 minutes, or if we could pinpoint it, 315,619,200 seconds. It’s a milestone to say the least.
I’ll never forget, before we got married, our pastor Daryle Nichols said to me in our one marriage counseling session: “Greg, do you realize that God is going to hold you responsible for…” I forget exactly what he said after that, but those were the most important words I’ve ever heard in my life. He meant that the vows I was going to make weren’t a joke – God was going to hold me to them. And God fully expected me to keep them all. Marriage and family became serious business that night, and although I don’t remember much else about that session, it was a life-changer.
Brother Daryle married us in the old sanctuary on a Tuesday night – New Year’s Eve, 2002, at 6:00 P.M. To our surprise, it was standing room only. We had a simple wedding; my brother was Best Man, and Lisa’s brother was the other Best Man (or Maid of Honor as we like to kid him). We wanted a simple wedding that kind of reflected who we both were, but we did splurge on our wedding rings. That was important to us.
We had a verse engraved inside each of our rings. Lisa’s just has “Matthew 19:6” because hers is so small, but mine reads, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6.”
Now, that may sound kind of un-romantic or anti-divorce, but you would be missing the point. From the very beginning, we recognized that our marriage was something God had orchestrated. He had brought us together as one flesh. Back then, we just knew that divorce was off the table, but as we grew spiritually, it became more about depending on God to preserve our marriage, through the good and the bad.
Lisa and I have faced some very rough… some awful times. But the worst times we’ve faced have all ended up being the best years of our marriage. How can that be? How can I honestly say that times when I have seen my wife in pain, times when I have seen her suffer, times when I have seen her heartbroken as we left our son in the hospital were the best years of our marriage? Because from Day 1, ten years ago, God has had our marriage in His hands, protecting us, lifting us up, and making sure we knew it was Him doing it all.
We are not special, and are not particularly strong… but God is. Today isn’t a celebration of us. It’s a celebration of Him. He took two polar opposites and made them inseparable. He has brought us through the impossible… repeatedly! We are just plain, messed up folks like everyone else, but we have entrusted our marriage and family to God instead of ourselves. Who better to preserve us that the One who joined us together?
Thank you Lord.
“Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”
2 Samuel 7:18