Tomorrow will mark 8 years since I met my husband.
I’m not much of a numbers person but I like dates. Especially when they work out so nicely. We met September 2, 2008 on my first day of high school. We started dating March 2, 2009 (coincidentally also my birthday (1993) and the day that my parents got engaged (1992)). We chose to get married June 2, 2012. Now here we are 8 years after meeting which really is a short amount of time but it feels so far away.
8 years can bring about a lot of change in two people. The majority of friends I had during that time are no longer friends. Some have fade into the realm of acquaintances and some have left after leaving scars while still others have left and come back around. We’ve all grown up and changed in our own ways with relatively little impact on each other.
There was an article recently published on Focus on the Family discussing the benefits of marrying young. The biggest being that two people who marry young have the opportunity to grow and change with each other. They are not previously set in their ways like someone who has perhaps has dated throughout their 20’s and finally decides to marry in their early 30’s. Now I cannot speak for marrying older and what that means for a relationship, except to say that marrying young isn’t for everyone. Marriage at all may not be for you, but I can speak to the experience of being with someone from a relatively young age. I was 15 when I met my husband, 16 when we started dating and 19 when we got married.
My husband and I have changed drastically in 8 years, both as individuals and as a couple. But we have changed in response to similar or the same pressures and experiences. We have adapted to life’s challenges together. Coming from very different familial backgrounds we have also challenged each other to make changes. We’ve faced many difficulties and heartache together in this short time, that most couples do not face until much later if ever.
We’ve weathered it all. We’ve had to rely on God and each other during the storms. Sometimes we just had to rely on God and hope that we made it through together. Severely battered by the storms we’ve limped into safe harbors, taken a breath and began to work together again to fix the damage. These challenges, when experienced together, have made us stronger as individuals and as a couple.
My husband has made me a better person in many ways. He exhibits an amazing level of patience that I continually am in awe of. With 3 young children, patience is the ultimate virtue and one that I sorely lack most days. By the third tantrum of the day, I can easily already be at my wits end. Have you ever gotten woken from a dead sleep after working a 14 hour shift by your spouse barging into the bedroom, wild eyed, nose flaring, fists shaking, practically shouting through gritted teeth, “So help me God if those kids fight over one more toy I’m going to throw them all away!” Yeah… my husband has, on more than one occasion, and has had the patience to calm me down. It takes the patience of a saint to be able to deal with just me most days, let alone a gaggle of 3 kids under 4 years old. But the even more profound moments of patience from my husband comes from the simplest things. When I lose $20 out of my wallet. When I break a drinking glass. When I over-schedule our family and he has little time to rest. When I forget something important at home or need to run inside for the 5th time before leaving the house. I’m hard on myself over these things, but my husband’s grace and patience diffuses the situation. I’m learning from his example to be a little kinder with mistakes, less stressed, less worried about every minor detail and just enjoy life.
My husband focuses on the present. He knows the future is coming and makes the appropriate plans, but he doesn’t over-analyze and plan for every possible scenario like I do. At times this can frustrate me. But I’ve also come to realize that my planning and analyzing can detract from my enjoyment of the moment. I get so wrapped up in and stressed over the details that I can’t enjoy the experiences my family is having.
Here’s a controversial one. My husband is continually challenging me to submit to his leadership of our family, most of the time without even realizing it. We’re not talking a chauvinistic, “I’m the man of the house, go make me a sandwich” sort of setup. No, we’re talking about the biblical principle that my husband is the leader of our home. We work together, discuss decisions, do chores, take care of kids and pay bills. We split duties based on our abilities. I check the oil in the car. He does the dishes. I do the laundry and beg him not to touch it because quite frankly no one does it the right way except for me. He cooks beautiful meals from scratch with no recipe because he has a natural knack for cooking, while I hide behind my hamburger helper. Basically we have happily figured out what we enjoy and are capable of doing for duties. When it comes down to it though, after our discussions and both sides have been heard, I defer to my husbands decision. I want to. I desire to have a relationship based on the love and trust that my husband will follow God’s guidance for our family and I in turn will follow my husband’s guidance. But I was not raised understanding these principles. They do not come naturally to me at all. I’m stubborn, outspoken, independent and hate to relinquish leadership. All qualities which can be put to good use and which have their place in our relationship but can also be a major hindrance to submission. My parents wanted their daughter 100% capable of competing and succeeding in this world. However, there are many times that I must step back and let my husband do his God-given duty. Which means that I must put aside my stubbornness and trust my husband to lead.
My husband has taught me and is teaching me a lot. He challenges me to be better. He supports me through my lowest and highest moments. In the short 8 years we have known each other we have both changed drastically. We’ve changed together. We’ve faced the challenges together. We’ve grown stronger together and that has made a world of difference.