For you, Jack… I will love you for a thousand years

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I haven’t written much about my marriage because, even after over 14 years, I am still mystified. Of all the blessings I have been given, Jack’s love stands alone as the greatest miracle of my life. He has loved me back from the brink of insanity, honoring his commitment to our marriage when he had every excuse to leave. (For our full story, see Our Story.) He believed in me when there was barely a Me to salvage. When I refused to receive love from God, God loved me through Jack’s conduit heart. God used Jack to save me, and Jack allowed God to work through him.

So as I ponder what to write about this marriage—this miracle—that isn’t possible without our third, strongest Cord, I struggle to feel any authority to do so. As I look into his eyes, I am sixteen and desperately in love; I am thirty-three and pushing hard through the day, exhausted and collapsing in bed next to the snoring man I cried to sleep apart from before our wedding. I am the exasperated wife who once threw all of his socks into the fire to get his attention; he is my dive partner in Hawaii, the budget keeper who I never want to discuss money with. I am the mother of his children; he is the yin to my yang disciplining them. He provides a beautiful life for us bravely, consistently, no matter the distractions. I provide the home he returns to when he’s done fighting the good fight.

I wonder at the wonder of marriage: how canyon love can be reduced to grocery lists and budgets, how years are swallowed by voracious to-do lists ever-devouring, how a white bridal gown is traded for pajama pants and crocs covered in toddler pee. I wonder how this love grows through big bellies and the atrocities of childbirth, how fancy date nights transform into wine and frozen pizza in front of the fire.

More than anything, I wonder how our love keeps growing. Married people, isn’t it amazing? This love is so much bigger than I can take credit for: a fire whose warmth I bask in, but didn’t start and cannot feed on my own. Of all miracles, nothing brings me to my knees in gratitude and glory-giving faster than my marriage. I don’t know why, or how, or when. I just keep saying thank you.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought we could take the next weeks to talk about this oh-so humbling topic. Let’s be real about the glory, and real about the dark days. Let’s talk about building a foxhole of a marriage that can withstand any battle life can throw at you (with God’s help, of course.) And let’s remember that this beautiful, messy, scarred Eden we live together every day is God’s first gift to man, and He called it good. It’s so good.

Here’s to falling in love again and again.

May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 5:18