Since it was our anniversary today, we watched our wedding DVD. Don't worry, it's not like we were holding hands on the couch, feeding each other strawberries, and intermittently gazing into each other's eyes saying, "Remember that?" It was more like Mike on the couch drinking tea to relieve his cold, and me on the floor trying to sit comfortably with a 50-pound damp girl on my lap while my belly was protruding between us. On top of that, the 3-year-old was climbing my back while leaving streaks of snot on my shirt. Romantic, no?
Nevertheless, I loved watching clips of our wedding day. I tasted the giddiness I felt when my boyfriend became my husband. What I realized, though, was that we were two totally different people back then. There were so many things I didn't know when we exchanged our rings and danced the afternoon away.
1. I didn't know that I would grow to respect Mike so much. We were immature kids on our wedding day. Now my husband is a man. Wow.
2. I didn't know that our offspring would turn out like this:
3. I didn't know that marriage wasn't just about striving to be the perfect husband and wife. Naively, I thought that we could will for our marriage to be blessed by just working really hard at it and fulfilling the ABC's of our roles. But it was inevitable that we saw the nasty ugliness of each other shine brighter than our goodness. Now, I'm beginning to learn that any blessing in our marriage comes from the goodness of the Lord, and that more than being a good husband and wife, it's about seeing each other the way the Lord sees us. Looking past our sin, He considers us forgiven, accepted, loved, because we were bought by the precious blood of His Son.
4. I didn't know that Mike would come to know me so well. I thought I could get away with a lot more, but I can't hide a thing from this guy because he can detect the minute when something is on my heart. And even though he risks getting hurt and offended (and believe me, I've hurt him bad), he asks me to reveal whatever is on my mind. I'm thankful for that.
5. I didn't know that life would get so hard so fast. Trials were inevitable, but I had no idea that there would be so many tears cried together, so many late-night-heartbreak talks, and so much weight on our hearts this early on in our marriage. I also didn't know that I could come to a point where I could genuinely thank God for these hardships, because they've made our short 8 years of marriage so rich.
6. I didn't know that the divorce rate for couples with children with special needs was 80% or higher. Had I known this, I would have been scared to death. Yes, our marriage has been stretched in many ways, but my heart explodes with thankfulness for God's grace. For some reason, He has allowed the difficulty to strengthen our love for one another, and to magnify His great love for us.
7. I didn't know that true joy didn't come from being fulfilled in my marriage. In the early years, I wanted so bad for my marriage to be perfect and if it wasn't, I was deeply disappointed. As much as being married brings indescribable joy, I'm beginning to learn that it's bound to fall short, and that the relationship is so much better when we're both deeply fulfilled by Christ.
8. I didn't know that I would feel as blessed as I do now, and that Mike and I would be so much more in love now than we were then...8 years ago and counting.
I leave you with my favorite picture of our wedding day. Auj was inspired to draw it after watching the DVD. Don't we look radiant?