Four years ago, Charles and I stood before our family, friends and God and freely promised to be together faithfully, and (God-willing, (and He has been)) fruitfully, for all the days of our lives. We exchanged rings and prayed. Our first act together as man and wife, really, was to kneel at the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist at our wedding Mass. God first. After sharing in the Lord's Supper, we celebrated.
I shared this picture on Facebook with the following caption, "4 years, 2 kids, 1 great adventure, countless blessings! So grateful to be celebrating with Charles Armstrong today. (As an aside, this is one of my very favorite pictures from our wedding, because it exemplifies what we want our marriage to be, man and wife in prayer with Christ as our focus.)" Left unsaid was my prayer that, in some small way, we were, are, and will be something of an example to our community of people trying our best to live an authentic Christian life in this world of turmoil.
|(by Noyan Photography)|
This morning, we woke up in our king-sized bed, a tangle of arms and legs, stuffed animals and blankets, kids and adults. A beautiful tangle of the life we have built in that time. I could think of nothing more perfect.
I mean, I get it, we've only been married four years. We have plenty to learn.
The weekend before our wedding, we were at a 4th of July BBQ where a woman, married for 30something years, from our then-parish shared this story with me:
She had, the week before, made blueberry pancakes for her husband. As she told the story, it was clear that she was pleased with the gift she had given her husband, and as he was eating, he looked up, appreciative, but mentioned, "You know, off all the berries, blueberries have always been my least favorite." The moral of the story was that there is always more to learn about your spouse.
I reflect on that story frequently.
On the surface, it's a silly story about blueberry pancakes and learning about your spouse, but it's so much bigger than that to me. I think it's an example of how marriage should be. Serving one another. Accepting one another's love without condition. Learning, molding, growing, changing, honesty, giving, together through thick and thin. Kindness.
And above all else, love. The wife told the story with love; the husband chuckled at it with love. At the end of the day, they love each other, not in a fit of frenzied romance, but in a true desire for the best for one another.
The Second Reading at our wedding was from Romans. We chose it because of how it reflected Christian love. "Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer" (verses 11-12). (The full reading is Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18).
I only pray that, as the years go on, our marriage continues to be full of growth, of love, and of life.