Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Little Things of Marriage

It was not a day after our wedding when I came down with some sort of sickness. The details are a little fuzzy (at the time, everything was a little fuzzy), but I remember it was enough to keep me in bed. Less than twenty-four hours earlier, I was taking Brittany as my wife--now we were celebrating our honeymoon with chicken soup. Yet, through it all, Brittany did nothing but shine.

While I stayed in bed and tried to get some rest, Brittany volunteered to go out and get some chicken soup. She took care of me much in her kind and compassionate way. That's one of the reasons I married her--her servant's heart. I love this moment for two reasons. One, I got to see Brittany's character shine. Two, for the first time since moving out on my own, I was not alone. I had someone to care for me and be there for me. I didn't have to bear this burden by myself.

Brittany became pregnant rather quickly. Unfortunately, that first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. That was one of the scariest days of my life.

In the days that followed, Brittany sank into a depression. Being a mom had been her life-long dream. The opportunity had finally come, until suddenly it was pulled away, her dream dashed to pieces. But, it goes deeper than that, deeper than I could ever know. She had held that child within her. She had a physical connection with her. And that was torn away.

Now, it was my turn to serve, my turn to be strong and keep us afloat. I took the week off from work so that she wouldn't have to be alone. I took care of her as she had done for me before.

I bought a season of Monk from Hastings and brought it home for us to watch together. Sometimes there's nothing else to do but drown the pain. For us, Monk with all of his phobias and compulsive disorders served as the perfect escape. Day by day, hour by hour, we made it through, gradually coming back to a place of hope.

During our courtship, Brittany told me that she had never seen a giraffe in real life. Never. I decided I had to correct this. So, as part of our honeymoon, we planned a trip to the zoo.

We went around the park checking out the zebras and the elephants and all the various animals. My personal favorite was the aquarium. I just love all the weird creatures that live under the sea. When we finally made it around to the giraffes, we noticed that no one else was around that side of the park. That included the giraffes. To our dismay, the giraffes had decided to hunker down indoors where we could just barely see them.

I remember that as the first time I ever came up behind my wife and held her. Giraffes or no giraffes, we were there to spend time with each other. That's what I remember most about that day--not simply seeing (or not seeing) any of the animals, but the feeling of sharing the experience with my wife.

For our date last December, I took Brittany to see the holiday lights. We drove down to a nearby town where they were hosting a Christmas light show. The night was frigid, and a light drizzle coated everything in moisture. Nevertheless, our hearts were warm. We climbed aboard a horse drawn wagon to ride through the glowing park. When we were done, we walked over to and crossed a bridge that was literally covered in lights (my favorite part, personally).

A few days later, we went to see our first play together--"A Christmas Carol." Despite not observing the Christmas holiday, we couldn't help but get caught up in the spirit of joy and charity as in between scenes the actors sang of the birth of our King.

These are just some of the little things that stand out to me over the course of the last year. Tomorrow Brittany and I will have been married a year, and for that time period we've had our fair share of challenges and joys. Most of all, we've come through it all together.

Marriage can be a blessing if you take care of it. Marriage means being there for each other, bearing each other's burdens when the other is down. It means listening to the others needs not just with your ears but with your heart. It means having an advocate by your side, someone who will always stand with you no matter the storm. It means getting to surprise your spouse and see the delight in her face as you make her day. It means having someone to share life's joys with.

I've heard people talk about how marriage is all hard work, and I've heard people talk about how it is the fulfillment of life. For me, it's simply a blessing. No more. No less. Some days it's a challenging blessing. Other days simply overflow with joy. But always, it is a blessing. Thank you, Brittany, for marrying me and being there faithfully. And thank you, Father, for the joy you've brought into my life, for both the good times and the hard. Thank you for loving me.

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