Tomorrow, Eric and I will have been married ten years. I can hardly believe it! Some of those years are fuzzy in my mind as they went by so quickly. Our wedding day does not seem like it could have been ten whole years ago. It certainly does not seem like eight years since our memorable Winnie the Pooh store fight.
Is it really possible that we finished graduate school six years ago? Seriously, where has the time gone?
Ten years can hold a lot, but there are a few experiences which stand out to me. They were not all pleasant, but I am thankful for them just the same. They helped us grow and mature and ultimately drew us closer together.
- A Memorable Honeymoon in Lake Tahoe – When Eric was a boy, he and his family travelled from Santa Rosa, California to Zephyr Cove in Lake Tahoe, Nevada each summer and rented the same cabin from a family friend. It was Eric’s dream to take his future wife there for his honeymoon someday; yet, sadly, all of the cabins on the grounds were closed for renovations as we were planning our wedding. In the meantime, Eric and I had decided to have a quiet honeymoon in the mountains of North Carolina. But, just a few weeks before our wedding, Eric searched online and discovered that the place he and his family had vacationed all those years (which had been closed for a few years) was just now open again! He talked to my boss, worked out the details, and planned the honeymoon by himself. He did not tell me where we were going (he wanted to surprise me), but he knew he could not go wrong taking me anywhere near a large body of water. It was special getting to see where Eric made so many of his boyhood memories and I was able to read a diary of past vacationers who had rented the cabin – with several letters over the years written by his mom – which was so special as I never had the opportunity to meet her. I am sure we would have enjoyed a honeymoon in the mountains, but I am so glad we were able to make the trip to Eric’s special vacation spot. Since we met and fell in love on the East coast, there is so much about his childhood I would not have been able to experience if we had not honeymooned on the West coast. I also enjoyed presenting Eric with my piggy bank, Bacon, which was a ton of fun. ~smile~ Make sure to put special thought into your honeymoon – it will be worth it!
- Completing Graduate School Together – Eric and I thought going through the same graduate program together would bless our relationship. In the long run, I suppose it did. ~smile~ We did graduate and we now enjoy working with couples; but, for a while, it seemed like grad school was the bane of my existence – mainly because I wanted to relax after work and Eric was driven to study. He took schooling and education very seriously; whereas, I confess, I was not nearly as into it. I am a hands-on learner and text books have never done much for me. Needless to say, our different study patterns, habits, and approaches to education gave us multiple opportunities for conflict resolution. Sadly, as we were learning how to help couples, we were doing a lot of arguing ourselves. ~smile~ Still, at the end of the day, I am glad Eric and I went through the program together and earned the same degree. It was nice to accomplish something as big as a graduate degree together in the early years of our marriage. We also got to appreciate the joy of being finished with school together! Accomplish something big together in the first five years of your marriage.
- Some Serious Conflicts – If there is one area of marriage Eric and I have earned an honorary doctorate in over the last decade it is area of conflict resolution. We have grown a lot in reducing and resolving our conflict, and we are getting better with each passing year. ~smile~ Eric and I both believe to this day that God specifically brought us together for a reason, but there have been days we have seriously questioned whether or not we truly heard God’s voice in the matter. We are so (For those in the MBTI know… Eric is an ENTJ; whereas, I am an ISFP… you can’t get more opposite.) I picture God in Heaven snickering as we took our wedding vows. We really did not know what we were getting ourselves into. ~belly laugh~ Since then, Eric has wanted to run and push forward and I have wanted to lazily meander. Metaphorically, he has wanted to climb mountains and I have wanted to float down the river with a glass of sweet tea (though, perhaps not so metaphorically for me ~smile~). He has dreamed of all the worlds we can conquer together and I have dreamed about all the fun we can experience together. We have both had our share of “Why can’t you just see it my way?!” implosions and explosions. It may seem strange to say that I am thankful we experienced these rough patches, but I truly am… because they have helped us mature. They showed us our own flaws and held a mirror up to our sin. After ten years of being married to my complete opposite, I feel like a body builder inside. We have had to lift heavy relational weights, but we are so much stronger than we would be had our marriage been easy. Take the time and effort to work through your conflict… it really does get easier over time.
- Starting PreEngaged Together – This one may surprise Eric as he’s reviewing and proofing it to post on our website (the authorship on the blogs have my name on it, but he puts a lot of work into these posts and getting them ready too!). Due to our significantly different personalities (as stated above), starting a small business together has been no picnic. Eric has desperately wished for me to have more drive and initiative in the process; whereas, I have wanted him to slow down and smell the roses. We have butted heads time and time again, but at the end of the day, I love what we do. I am so thankful for work that matters and for the couples God has given us the privilege to know and serve; and, I know we would not be where we are if Eric had not worked so hard to build PreEngaged despite me digging my heels in and resisting on many of his ideas. What a blessing to be able to work alongside my spouse in ministry. Could I really ask for more? What are you going to work on together?
- The Pain of Disappointment – The biggest heartache we have experienced in this decade together has been the disappointment of infertility. Nothing has given me more pain and tears in the course of my life than the fear of never having children. In the early years, I was a bit concerned. As the weeks, months, and years have rolled by, I have watched friends, co-workers, family members, and clients have babies. It sometimes felt like God was punishing me. There is no way I would trade the joy of motherhood for the experience of infertility, but since God has chosen not to give us children thus far, I am choosing to thank Him for the pain. I do not know what His purpose has been for this wait, but I am confident He has one. I do not know how we will come to be parents, but I genuinely believe we will – somehow and someday. I am excited to see how God will work. And, I am glad we had the opportunity to experience this pain together. I think we have been there for each other, grown closer through it rather than disconnecting, and I think we will be all the more thrilled when God does bring children into our lives. Up until this season of my life, I have never been through anything so challenging to my faith and emotions – and I am thankful that God is using this trial to break us of our self-reliance, to strengthen our faith, and to show us His glory. How can you two prepare for future disappointment?
Ten years going by seems crazy, but it is here! Your tenth anniversary may seem eons away, but it is not. It will be here before you know it – even if you are not married yet! Make the most out of your first ten years. Make a list of what you want to accomplish together, and do your best to fulfill those dreams! A decade is a terrible thing to waste!
What do you want to see when you look back on your first ten years of marriage?