Seventeen years ago I spent my entire Spring Break grounded. Even from my phone*.
The humanity! As one might guess, it seemed to me the end of the world– especially since I had just met the cutest, awesome-est guy…
… A grade older than me, he was the strapping captain of the wrestling team, with perfectly coiffed spiky-but-not-too-spiky sandy blonde hair and a faint sprinkle of freckles across his nose. I can still picture the oatmeal-colored waffle-weave Henley shirt he sported with loose fit Levis and Doc Marten’s the day I met him. I was supposed to remain at my girlfriend’s house that day, but she and I instead spent the entire day with aforementioned wrestler and chums (cue the grounding), and Wrestler and I have been together ever since.
In hindsight, I’d say it was worth it. Not only am I now happily married to that sandy blonde wrestler, but he has blessed me with the most beautiful children on the planet. (Not biased, this is factual.) Moreover, had I not met him, who would have given me their Bible and first explained my need for a Savior?
Side note: If my children ever ask, it is NEVER okay to spend the day gallivanting around town with boys (or girls, for Little Man) when your parents have no clue of your actual physical whereabouts. Hypocritical? You betcha. Do I care? Not one iota.
Really, we were/are just a couple of idiots in love. It’s not like in my impressionable teen years I was intelligent, objective, or self-aware enough to realize that he would be a great husband for me, that his strengths would compliment my weaknesses, and vise versa… I just loved him.
Recently, our marriage has come under intense scrutiny. A tiny faction of naysayers believe our family to be unworthy of adopting another child because of what we have endured in our seventeen years together. Truth is, we are doing this “adoption thing” pretty publicly (with the unapologetic intent of spurring other prospective adoptive parents to action) and have come to expect a certain amount of criticism. However, we put more weight on both the licensed professionals- with whom we have been painfully candid– that have deemed us eligible and competent, as well as our family (both blood and elective) that knows our history and our hearts and have been overwhelmingly encouraging and supportive.
Our seventeen years together have been exceptionally full ones. Never easy, never boring. We’ve survived a lot together, not the least of which were a fourteen month deployment to the Middle East and the still-birth of our third daughter. In good times (check!) and bad (check!), sickness (check!) and health (check!), for richer (check!) or poorer (check!), we have overcome trials by the grace of God. God knew how we would bless and stretch each other, even through our mistakes and shortcomings.
Now, were my children to ask me if they should date as teenagers or entertain the prospect of marriage with someone who doesn’t profess the same Christian faith as theirs, I certainly would not encourage it. I would challenge them to prayerfully consider the implications before diving in. In truth, my Christian husband suffered because he married an unbeliever. Upon our meeting, I absolutely helped to temporarily sideline his faith from the forefront of his life to the back-burner. Still, God has used our self[couple]-inflicted sufferings to refine us and bring us to a place of complete reliance on Him. I don’t think I’d stamp that as complete failure, and I’m sure thankful that God never gave up on us.
Scripture that has blessed our marriage:
“[Love…]… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
“A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
“Therefore a man[woman] shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife[her husband], and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what god has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
Books that have blessed our marriage (in this order):
The Five Love Languages (Chapman)
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands (Schlessinger)
This Momentary Marriage (Piper)
Photo credit: Valerie Hibler Photography
*How many of you thirty-somethings had the same see-through phone with neon colored components that lit up when an incoming call came in? Younger friends, see that yellow spiral thing? It’s called a CORD. It actually plugged into the wall. Like a lamp. I know, hardly civilized. At least this beauty resided in my bedroom, a true 1990’s luxury.