Today, Rebecca and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Two years have all but evaporated before us. In a month we’ll move out of our only home together. I’ll soon be a graduated, ordained minister. Rebecca will be a clinical “extern” on her way to professional—rather than student—life. Before we can blink we’ll be in a new town, with a new home, and a new pattern of living and relating. Life happens so quickly. And it feels as though it is accelerating. Being married has unquestionably increased the pace of life for me.
So, as I reflect on two years of marriage, I’m struck, at first, by the few times I’ve paused to envision and reflect upon my relationship to Rebecca in its fullness. Finding time to savor the richness and struggle of married life—when bogged down by studies, pending projects, and financial worries—is a challenging task. I am sure that professional life will prove to have its own distractions, tempting me to ignore the beauty and importance of my complex and nourishing relationship with Rebecca. My hope is to be aware of that temptation and find ways to keep the larger picture in view.
In addition, I am acutely aware that anniversaries are so often treated by our wider culture with a kind of sentimentality. Anniversaries are “happy” times, full of joy and laughter. Surely they can be joyful and filled with laughter, but anniversaries are not only reminders of the good—however much we may want to savor “the good”—they are also reminders of the difficulty, heart-ache, and sacrifice that we must undergo to live life with someone else. And so I must confess that our two years together have not been easy. Married life, I imagine, is never truly “easy” for anyone. Relationships, of all stripes, are trying. For us, the mixture of school, work, and negotiating a mutually-understood life together has been taxing and, at times, utterly fatiguing. We’ve fought, cried, despaired, and somehow, I trust, grown together. Growing, as we might all remember from adolescence, is painful. And so the new possibilities that have emerged for us through the trials and tribulations of two years of marriage are not somehow unscathed by those very trials and tribulations. Those troubling times remain with us—they are scars to be integrated into the developing body of our two year married relationship.
Thankfully, Rebecca and I share the kind of relationship in which we can be honest, sincere, and genuine with one another. We do not hide from each other, however much we might want to at certain times. Our honesty has been, undoubtedly, the greatest strength of our relationship. It means acknowledging the pain and sadness that accompanies our life together; rather than running from it or using it to wall each other out. I hope all the memories enrich us, even as we mourn what we’ve lost in our experience together.
As much as we’ve experienced difficulties and grown, I hope and pray that the next two years will be different. The past need not play like a broken record, simply repeating the same worn tunes, whatever value that record and those tunes may have had. New songs await. I hope we’ll be able to capture the energy, vitality, and honesty of our relationship that marked our past two years, but in a new way and new context. I know new challenges lurk, butI trust that the resiliency we’ve developed will enable us to meet those challenges in love, friendship, and hope.
I love Rebecca deeply and I am thankful to have experienced, endured, and been edified by two years of marriage with her. I am grateful for the past, hopeful for the future, and resolved to celebrate the present. As we say in church, “Thanks be to God.”