Honestly I can’t think of where the time went. I remember all of it. But sometimes it feels like way too much to cram into 22 years of marriage. Other times it feels like yesterday.
Who came up with the term “wedded bliss?” I don’t even know what that means. I think I’m too much of a realist. There’s so much pain in life coming from all directions. From within and without. Was it reasonable to think it would be bliss? But we did. We actually thought that because we just couldn’t imagine there would be pain. Maybe you don’t have the right to talk about bliss until you’ve gone through something, the opposite of bliss, whatever that is, and you make up your mind to keep going because there might just be bliss on the other side of it. Maybe that’s a load of crap about women not remembering the pain of childbirth. We remember it just fine, but there’s bliss in holding that baby. There’s no bliss in giving up on motherhood just because the delivery hurt like hell. Maybe the bliss comes from knowing that this is the person I’m willing to hold after it hurts like hell.
Now I’ve seen mothers who couldn’t find bliss if they were holding it in their arms. And I’ve seen heartbreaking marriages end because bliss was too little and too far between. I can’t judge because I haven’t been there. But I’ve been judged in my mothering and smothering and marriage. Been judged for almost giving up on marriage, but I’ve been judged more critically for staying in it. Imagine. Christian friends literally turning their backs on me because I wanted to stay.
We’ve got 2 separations under our wedding rings. More tears, sadness, anger, and isolation than I thought possible 22 years ago. But there’s bliss. And it’s not because everything is going well. There’s no glitter and rainbows and unicorns in our marriage. We’ve got water damage and overscheduling and a bear in the back yard. But the smiles in the pics are real. We really do like each other that much. And we love even more. Our kids are phenomenal, and our friendships are life-giving. Our mistakes pale in comparison to the things we are doing right.
I can’t rattle off all the anniversaries, but we’ve had fun. The car accident in Charleston in 1997. The walking tour of Boston in 2001. Mountain zip-lining in 2014. The casino and Moonshine train in 2016 (that memory is a little fuzzy). There’s bliss in those memories just as much as sitting on the couch on a Tuesday evening watching the Netflix.
We’ve got some family weddings coming up soon. OUR ring bearer is getting married. Hopefully these couples aren’t reading this. Probably scared them to death. But they are blinded by the twinkles in their eyes. And that’s the way it should be. They have no idea what’s coming. It’s gonna be amazing and scary and full of bliss. From satin and lace and tulle and boutonnières and gift registries, to back to school shopping and Costco and diapers and piles of laundry. There’s no adventure like marriage.
Paul and I have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams. God has been with us every step of the way, even in our mistakes. Our paths have been twisted and wrong and road blocked and bulldozed. But we have also blazed trails we were told weren’t for us. God sits with us on the couch and holds us in our crying fits. He brings others alongside to help us, and leads us to help others. He is the reason we are together and He is the author of our bliss. It has hurt Him like hell just to bring us this far, and He holds us.