In five days, Phillip and I will reach the 20 year landmark in our marriage. 20 years of enduring commitment. 20 years of laughter and tears. 20 years of successes and failures. 20 years of building, tearing down and rebuilding. How well I remember catching a glance of Phillip as he entered the church on our wedding day. His smile was bright and full of hope. My heart fluttered and danced about with excitement to the point where I could barely breathe. Anyone who knew us then, understood ours was not going to be a marriage that would ever be picture perfect. Broken pasts, lost dreams, and two diabolically different personalities that cried out failure at every turn were just a few pieces of baggage we carried down the aisle that day. And yet, on that day when we said, “I do.”, God stepped into our midst and knit our hearts together as one: a powerful beautiful one that has overcome sickness, loss, disappointment, rejection, hopelessness and fear. Yes, when God knit our hearts together as one, we became so much more than each of us were alone. My weaknesses – – which are many — were counter-balanced by his strengths. My gentleness refined his rough edges. His steadfast nature matched my perseverance. As the years unfolded the gifts of each others strengths to each other also unfolded.
Years of love and forgiveness fortified our love so even when that love was mightily tested, it withstood the test, reshaped, and thrived once again.
Now, as I watch so many friends in the early years of their marriages pressing through and learning to love always want to encourage these five things.
Tips for Making it through 20 Years of Marriage and Beyond
- When they stumble – because they will indeed stumble – be the first to be there to restore them to their feet AND back to their position of strength.
- When you stumble – and you will indeed stumble – reach first to your love to restore you. Let them hold you, tend to you and love you back through mercy and grace
- Recognize the gift of each other God blessed each of you with. Treat each other as treasures always remembering God’s gifts are good, lovely and beautiful (even when they are used for refining).
- The Lord brought you together. HE BROUGHT YOU TOGETHER. Fight for each other. Defend each other. ALWAYS Choose love.
- Since the Lord brought you together, never leave Him out of the equation. He must be center of your marriage to make it complete.
I can’t wait to experience the next 20 years with my love. We are so different from we were when we met, when we were married or even 10 years ago. The changes have been hard at times but because of God’s grace the fruit has always been good.
To my love Phillip – I wouldn’t want to walk this life with anyone other than you. Thank you for being my very best friend, support and also one who constantly challenges me to grow. I thank God every day for the joy of loving you! Happy Anniversary!