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Love Is War: A Reflection on 10 Years of Marriage

Brent and I have never been much for gifts, or making a big deal of our anniversary, but this past Friday was our 10th and I had been anticipating it eagerly. I’ve been reflecting on our relationship this past few weeks and thought I would do what I rarely do- write about our marriage. So here, in no certain order, are some thoughts I have as I look back on the past ten years.

  1. I never intended to take so much in this marriage.

If we were to measure give and take in our relationship, I feel the scale would be tipped towards Brent. He, for certain, has never measured. It wouldn’t occur to him to do so. But he has worked well beyond what is typically required of a young man, to keep our household floating. To keep me floating.

Struggles with my health have often meant Brent has not only financially supported this family, but has often carried the burden of cooking, shopping, cleaning, bed time routines, and crying babies. He has become the kind of man who can handle something as insane as taking a two year old, a six year old, and a dog out by himself on a bike ride, and get everyone home in one piece. He has had to grow into an extremely capable husband and father, and for all the grief and regret it has sometimes made me feel, I look at our family and know the Lord has had His hand in all of this. He has purposes for our good and His glory, and I think, what a bright reflection of God’s glory my husband has been.

  1. Believing in his potential has been a great joy.

 It has been a great joy of mine to see Brent through starting his own business. I remember in our first few years of marriage, dreaming about things that we have now attained. I remember encouraging Brent to quit his job, telling him I knew he could do this. After Adelle was born we were spending more than we were making trying to get it off the ground, and we didn’t know how we’d survive when my maternity checks stopped coming. I remember how we prayed together. How somehow, I couldn’t doubt that things would work out. God gave me faith in that time, and watching Him reward that faith by providing for us through Brent’s work, was gratifying and faith building.

  1. We’ve battled war on our sinful flesh together.

 The Lord knows we’ve hurt each other. Brent has had his sinful vices and I’ve had mine. We confess, we repent, we stumble, we hurt, we wonder how we can go on, but we persevere. Through Christ, we gain victory.

We have scars, disappointments, and fears, but we cleave. We’ve shattered trust and we’ve built it again. Put holes in walls and patched them.

And I think, when you have fought this hard for love, and for marriage, all the ugliness somehow makes you cling harder. The foundation grows deeper. The cost is higher, the treasure more valuable. You put your blood, sweat, and tears into this holy union the Lord has granted you, and the longer you war the more you say “Sin will not destroy us. Sickness will not break us. Satan cannot steal us. What God has put together, let no man put asunder (Matthew 19:6).”

  1. We’ve learned humility and gained wisdom in the flames.

 I’m going to share one story- because it has become a very special memory to me, and I have revisited it in my mind many times since.

After my gastrectomy surgery last May, Brent stayed by my side for three days in the hospital. I was in a lot of pain, and I was sick. I couldn’t hold any kind of conversation, and could barely tolerate looking at anything because the room seemed to spin. It was a nasty couple of days. The third morning, I simply awoke in panic. I am no stranger to panic attacks, and knew what was coming. I asked Brent to read the bible to me, and he quickly opened to Psalm 23 and began to read, but the panic was building and would not retreat. I began to hyperventilate and could not gain control, so Brent ran to get a nurse and they brought me some oxygen.

During the turmoil, Brent was saying things to me to calm me-

“It’s ok.”
“You have nothing to be embarrassed of.”
“If I was going through what you are, I would feel the same way.”
“God cares.”

You can’t know how much this man has had to learn to be able to step into this scene with calm, patience, compassion, empathy. I found myself thinking, “Where did this wise man come from? How does he know what I needed to hear?”

But I know. He has learned it in the fire. Through too many sleepless nights, too many breakdowns. In one sense, I wish we hadn’t had to learn some of the things we have, and yet, how much good has God taught us, and done in us through fires? What arrogant, hurtful, spoiled human beings might we have been without the flames?

5. We’ve kept our humor.

We have laughed together during times that no one would think it possible to laugh. Brent’s calm demeanor and ability to crack a joke during extremely tense times has sometimes gotten under my skin. Like- how can he possibly be ok at a time like this? But God knows I needed a steady partner, and how much I need his laughter. So I am so thankful for that.

6. I thank God for it all.

 Life together has not always been what I imagined. But it has all been in the Potter’s hands, and He has been shaping and molding it into what He wants it to be. We are still marred, in need of God’s grace to cover our sins. In fact, we would only be ruined, if it weren’t for the grace of God. But I think, 10 years in, I can say we understand a little more of what it means for a wife to submit to her husband, and a husband to love his wife, as Christ loved the church and laid His life down for her (see Ephesians 5:22-33).

I see that we have so many faults, but that we are headed in the direction of Jesus. God has written and woven our lives towards that end. So, I thank God for it all- even the times we fell, the times we hurt. God is using it for good. He is uniting us stronger.

1Timothy 6:11-12 “…Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.”