Today is our Ten Year Anniversary.
The easier post to write would be the one where I post the adoring picture of us and caption it with something along the lines of...
Happy anniversary, babe! It's been the most amazing ten years! Can't wait to see what the next ten years holds! Love you BIG!
I just can't type that without feeling awkward about it. It would portray my marriage as glossy and superficial. And, not only is our marriage not glossy, but there is nothing superficial about marriage. Marriage is complex, refining, and beautifully brutal. It's loving despite.
There have been many times in the past ten years that I didn't think we'd make it another day. Where loving despite seemed like a challenge we no longer wanted to endure. Because that adoring couple you see above, they only sometimes exist. They've disagreed and said hateful things to one another in heated arguments. They've gone to bed angry and been on the giving and receiving end of The Silent Treatment countless times (such an unfair game to play, btw). There's been shouting matches where no one wins, and there's been times where leaving seemed like a better option than staying.
Marriage is work. Every. Single. Day.
But, it is worthy work. I have to remind myself of that daily. It's a sacred covenant that God intended for His good. Marriage is an enduring, undeserving, sometime one-sided love that requires less of me and more of Him. It's accepting that 50/50 rarely exist, and that we're given each other to offset that imbalance. Loving despite.
While each of these pictures shows a smiling Brandon & Abby, the back stories contradict an always-happy-always-loving couple.
True Story: We were in Hilton Head and spent a large part of our time there arguing with one another. I couldn't wait to come home.
True Story: Brandon had just quit his job of seven years. The future was uncertain.
True Story: We were headed to the fertility specialist, hoping to get pregnant. SUPER stressful. Hormones were TERRIBLE and I was NOT a nice person during that six month stint!
True Story: We took Becks to the pumpkin patch. I took the day off of work after finding out the mother we had been matched with - and were expecting to bring her baby home to our house in a matter of weeks - had changed her mind. I was devastated and could barely function for days.
True Story: We were at my grandpa's 80th birthday party and it was a challenge to hold a conversation without crying about our failed adoption. Ironically, we'd leave this party to find out our daughter had been born the week prior :)
True Story: Faith had been in the hospital for a little over a month at this point and was enduring a second extremely intensive 4-hour surgery. We were just trying to keep our heads above water at the hospital and at home. I still don't know how we survived.
True Story: We were headed to look at Christmas lights with the kids, and almost didn't make it after getting into a ridiculous argument in the car.
True Story: I'm about six months pregnant here and we're at Graeter's for ice cream after a session of marriage counseling. One of the best things we've ever done for our marriage and each other. Counseling, that is. Not Graeter's ;)
True Story: I'm about six-weeks postpartum with Ben, and am heavier than I'd like. But, I LOVE this picture. Even though we aren't like this ALL the time, there are plenty of times when we are. When we look at each other as if we're the only two people in the room. When we know that the decision we made to stand by each other forever ten years ago was the right one.
I am a better person for being married to Brandon. He is my best friend, my confidant and lover. I would stand next time him today and do it all over again.
Happy Ten Year Anniversary, B. I love you BIG.
(PS. We are staying in downtown Cinci tonight WITHOUT kids, and will probably sleep through the night for the first time in almost three years! Wooooo to the hooooooo!)