I married my best friend, literally!
We met in our church youth group and soon became inseparable. I'm not quite sure what it was that sparked our friendship in the first place. It might have been the fact that we exchanged similar childhood stories or that we share the exact same birthday. It could have even been that we could spend countless hours talking and it would only feel like minutes. Personally, I would like to believe it was because we saw the reflection of Christ in each other's heart.
Which ever one it was, we became besties and for the next 2 years of our friendship we were inseparable, all the while maintaining a beautifully pure and God-fearing relationship.
Then cupid shot his arrow. It pierced my heart first and I patiently waited for it to make its way to Shawn's heart. When it did, we went from been besties to an engaged couple in a very short period of time.
One would think that all this would provide the makings of an ideal marriage but not so. If you are like me, you grew up reading all those silly but fun fairy tales. Boy rides in on his white horse and rescues girl; boy and girl falls in love, gets married and ride off into the sunset, living happily ever after.
But no one writes about the "happily ever after" and we adopt the juvenile mentally that happily ever after only involves eating, dancing, laughing and making love...a never ending state of blissfulness.
At this moment I can envision the ending to some of the fairy tales I have read, many of which became movie classics. Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty & the Beast to name a few. They usually end with the happy couple smiling and dancing at their wedding, stopping only to share a tender kiss.
Unfortunately, real life is not a fairy tale and life after the "I do" seldom transpires as we dreamt or hoped it would.
For my husband and I, there was a new level of intimacy we needed to attain and in the attempt to accomplish this, we discovered each other's baggage.
We came into our marriage with old tattered suitcases that needed to be unpacked and their contents discarded and burnt. Contents we accumulated from our tarnished childhood and dysfunctional families. In addition to all that, we had to learn to deal with our unrealistic expectations of each other, our own selfish nature, and the consequences that came with it.
Regardless of what some might say, a great marriage takes work but for those who persevere it can be extremely rewarding.
For us, our marriage continues to be a sacrificial journey that is dependent on Christ to be front and centre.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken."
We have found this to be true. We constantly need Christ to be the third strand in our marriage. He provides us with the ability and strength necessary to endure the challenges we encounter in this God ordained relationship.
It takes an unwavering commitment from both of us to love intentionally. We observe the need, at times, to seek and offer forgiveness. It takes recognizing and accepting God's grace and extending that same grace to each other. It includes a willingness to have honest, open communication, with respect and transparency.
Most of all, it includes making spiritual discipline such as reading the Word and praying for and with each other, a part of our daily life.
On our own Shawn and I can easily miss the mark, but with Christ at the centre of our marriage, we are continually learning to do marriage exceptionally well.
In the process, we remain grounded in our love for God and for each other and focus on modelling God's love to our children.
Our marriage is definitely not a fairy tale, at least not according to those old childhood story books. Nonetheless, it is our story. A story of love, forgiveness, grace and Christ. Christ, the third strand who covers, protects and keeps our marriage.
I write this blog as a tribute to sharing almost 23 years of marriage with my best friend, Shawn. Two imperfect people serving a perfect God. I also dedicate this post to all who are currently married or contemplating marriage.
Please read Ephesians : 21-33