Life Narrated

What did those vows say?

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Back in 1992 when I met my husband, I was in eleventh grade and he was a freshman at TJC. We fell head over heels for each other and both just knew that this was our future spouse right away. We saw everything through rose-colored glasses. The world was our oyster. Love could conquer all our problems. We could see no flaws in our future plans because, after all, we were young and in love and together, we could make it through anything, right? Two years later, we got married and enjoyed a wonderful, happy, fun-filled, joyful first couple years of marriage. Our bank accounts were full. Our hearts were bursting at the seams. Our lives were pretty ideal. And then the tests of our vows began.

Just a couple months into our marriage, I was hit by a drunk driver and totaled my car. A month later, Larry landed in the hospital with anaphylactic shock. Four months after the wedding, we picked up and moved to another town where neither of us had ever lived. Two years into marriage, we had our first baby. Four months after that, my husband’s gall bladder took a nose dive and he had to take some time off work to recover. While on leave to recover from the surgery, he interviewed for a new job two hours away. One crazy thing after another happened in those first couple of years.

In a span of the first five years of marriage, we moved five times, had our first baby (and found out we were pregnant with our second), watched our baby have three eye surgeries, bought our first house, filed bankruptcy and together held five jobs. And things only got more complicated from there.

While we’ve had our ups and downs, our marriage has remained strong through it all. We decided early on that divorce would never be an option for us, so with each difficult circumstance, we made an effort to draw closer to each other rather than pushing away. I’d like to say that’s always been the easy choice and I’ve never considered running for the hills, but that would be a lie. The truth is, sometimes it would’ve been simpler to call it quits. But our faith and commitment to each other and our family has trumped all sorts of escape plans and we have always found a way to hold it together through all the hard stuff.

Marriage is by no means a bed of roses. It’s a daily decision to stay, to make the choice to love when you’re not even sure you like each other, and to put each other first. Marriage is where pride goes to die, where forgiveness and selflessness must become your first language and where you consistently look to the future together.

Last week my husband had a shoulder replacement surgery. While visiting the hospital that evening, my daughter’s boyfriend snapped a picture of Larry and me walking down the hall of the hospital together, hand in hand. It was a sweet picture so I shared it on social media. A young friend of mine commented with something like “Young folks, take note. This is commitment. This is what a real power couple looks like.” I was so touched by her words. While I certainly don’t feel like a “power wife” or some sort of super hero in life, I love that someone else sees the commitment we’ve made to each other—in sickness and in health, good times and bad, rich and poor. And I hope that commitment inspires my children to look for the same and live the same in their future marriages.

Life is not always easy. Marriage is often very, very hard. But when you daily choose each other, with the help of the big guy upstairs, it can be one of the most amazing parts of your whole life.

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