So we’re running today’s post for two reasons. One is that the author, Jenny Rapson, is moving on from the Thriving Marriages team today, and we like her and will miss her (we’ll still be pilfering the great stuff she writes from time to time). The second is that sometimes you don’t need practical tips or advice, you just need to remember that it’s going to be okay, you’re going to make it, and that the hard times will pass. Enjoy!
This summer, I posted this picture to Instagram with the caption “This guy. Stalking me since 1990.”
It was a funny joke, because my husband and I met in 6th grade, in the fall of 1990, when we were both about to turn 12. And, he liked me then.
He never really stopped.
We did not know when we met that adolescence would fly by, that it was just ten years until our wedding. We could not have imagined the things we’d outlast.
In 8th grade we were “boyfriend and girlfriend” (he finally won me over!) and that lasted over a year, long enough for us to be on Homecoming Court as freshmen in high school.
A few weeks later, he broke my heart.
We both dated other people in high school, but we were always friends, somehow. Because through it all, part of me always knew he had my heart. And I still liked him.
I never really stopped.
Halfway through our senior year, he asked me to be his girlfriend, again.
I will be honest, I knew at that moment that if I said yes, I would be saying it forever.
We married at 22. And as we and our love have grown older (I just turned 40, and, he likes to remind me every darn day that he is still 39 for ___ more weeks [currently 5 more]), and in March our marriage will turn 18.
Our love has outlasted a LOT. Most notably, many of the places where that love grew.
It has outlasted the Friendly’s restaurant and ice cream shoppe that we visited after every basketball game our senior year of high school. It closed probably 15 years ago. It has outlasted the Christian book store where we went on just about every date so my music-obsessed boyfriend could pick up a new CD. The last one of those closed just here recently.
It has outlasted three of the movie theaters and the drive-in where we had many fun teenage dates.
It has outlasted the freaking BUILDING where we went to high school—I cried when it was demolished about five years ago.
It has outlasted the marriages of some of our dear friends and family members.
It has outlasted the fancy restaurant we went to the night we got engaged, and the coffee shop where we DID get engaged.
It has outlasted the hotel where we spent our wedding night, and the restaurant where we used to go for every anniversary.
(Side note: when we like restaurants, it seems to actually be BAD for business. It seems as if we’ve left a lot of destruction in our wake. But we’re still here.)
It has outlasted three pregnancies and three childbirths and one difficult recovery.
It has outlasted my bout with depression and anxiety, outlasted babies who would not sleep for over a year, outlasted children getting in our bed every night.
It has outlasted many various stages of employment for me, but because the man I married is so steady and amazing, his job is one year older than our marriage (our love still pre-dates it, though. 😉 )
It has outlasted fights and rough patches, periods of bad communication, and times we were just in “survival mode.”
It has outlasted the developmental delays of two of our kids (some times I did not personally think I would survive.)
Marriage isn’t easy, but I am so thankful I am in it with a man who is committed to outlasting any of the bumps and tragedies life can and will send our way. It gives me a little grief to think of all the things we will outlast together (certainly some lives of loved ones, our children’s childhoods – ooh, that hurts!) but so much joy in that “together” is the key word there.
There are so many things we have outlasted that I TRULY miss, but in my heart, I know that there is TRULY nothing better than walking forward hand in hand. Come what may.