Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The road we have traveled...

has been long and not without problems, but twenty years down this road our love and devotion to each other is stronger than ever before. We have memories that make us smile and talk about the "remember whens".  We have memories that we try our best to forget, but the scars won't let us. As we traveled this road that we call marriage, there has certainly been one constant.  Us - together.  We've always been together... never separated... not always happy... but never giving up on the vows of love we promised at our wedding... "to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part".

"To have and to hold, from this day forward" has different meanings for some people. Some think it has to do with intimacy, while others feel it means a type of possession, others feel it gives them the right to control.  For me, it's simply about an exclusive, mutually faithful and satisfying life.  In ALL aspects of that life.

"For better" is always easy to do.  When life is good, everyone is happy and harmonious. However, when "for worse" enters the picture, life isn't as rosy.  When a Mother passes away, when a father gets sick, facing heart attacks, when a sister is taken, when a family member disappoints you, when friendships get messy, when jobs cause stress and tension, divorces, blended families, when children play you against each other, when extended family gets in the way, when financial problems wear you down, when there isn't enough time... these are just a few examples of "for worse" we have faced, but have always stayed together.  Helped each other, fought it out, found a solution that works for both of us. We never left, but found a way to stay together.

"For richer, for poorer" has never been a big issue in our married life.  We both work hard to provide for our family.  We both have hobbies that require financial backing, but we have never put our individual wants or needs above the other's.  If anything, Matthew dominates this part of our lives.  His needs and wants seem to be a priority for both of us.  We live a typically modern middle class life, which at times is paycheck to paycheck.  Money has not been a catalyst in our marriage.  The things we do have are gifts for God.  The things we don't have, we don't dwell on them.  We either do without some extras or we work to have them.

"In sickness and in health" became part of our lives early on.  I've had some health problems and Tracy never left my side.  Never questioned how long he would have to care to me.  Never wavered in his commitment to me.  He's been my rock for most everything that has happened over the past 20 years. He has been strong when I couldn't.  He's be reasonable when I have been senseless.  He has managed when I was unable.  He supported me when I had no one else.  He cried for me when I had no tears left.  He has been proud of my accomplishments.  He comforts and advices on my failures. He picks me up when I fall.  He dries the tears.  He loves our son.  He is a Godly man with a good heart. He does the right thing.  He is the husband I don't deserve. He is the man I've always wanted.  He is my protector and my reality check. He is a blessing.  And I know without an ounce of doubt that we will only be separated by death.  And then only for a short time while one grows with God until the other arrives.

Some people stay together for the children.  Some people can't be bothered to leave. Some hate the idea of feeling like a failure.  While others shudder at the thought of being alone.  Some do their own thing and consider marriage a piece of paper without any real meaning.  Some give no value to marriage and all.  But for us, marriage is sacred.  We're not just still married.  We're still in love.  We're still committed.  We're still partners.  We're not perfect by any means, we're just blessed to have found the ONE GOD intended us to be with during this journey.

I'm not sure what our future will be, but I do know God has plans for us.  Love may not always lead to marriage, but marriage must always hold strong to love.

* Note... we really need Heather's photography skills, as opposed to Matthew's... oh well...

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