Kevin and I celebrated 13 years of marriage on November 20th. Two days prior we marked 18 years of togetherness. While I long to share a post of warm and fuzzies, I rather share what the tough and gritty has taught me about marriage.
When I stood in front of our family and friends and proclaimed my love for Kevin, I meant it. I knew we were committed to sticking it out through whatever came our way. We were young, but not naive. We knew that with marriage comes a lot of muck. That's life.
I just didn't expect it to come so hard and so fast. After dating for 5 years, we were long over the honeymoon of being together prior to marriage so we didn't have to struggle with that hump. We had already formed a solid lifetime bond that went well beyond the dating high. However, within the 1st year, we already had our doubts about the survival of our marriage. We were dirt poor while I was getting my teaching credential. The stress level was mounting as was our arguing. We were miserable. The "D" word was thrown around like a football at a family get-together. To add to our stress, I was diagnosed with lupus. We were young, poor, and struggling with a chronic illness.
It seemed like a slew of shots were coming our way at lightening speed in the following years: hospitalization following Luke's birth, job loss, a child with health issues, and finally cancer all by the time we were 30. Once again, we found our marriage bruised and neglected. With 3 kids under 5 we were just trying to get through each day.
As I reflect now, I am so thankful we stuck it through those tough times. Our marriage has not been perfect. It has had its highs and lows. But I have learned to cling to those highs when we are in the low times to get us through. When it comes down to it, we have personally changed and endured so many life changes since that November day in 1999, but we are still the same at the core: faith, family, and humor. It is that solid core that keeps us together.
May we always promise to stay focused on the core to one another and to Luke, Charlie, and Jack.