Peter and I were married 10 years ago. It’s quite a milestone, but it feels less an achievement on our part than a measure of God’s grace so far.
I had imagined when I was a newlywed that by the time we reached 10 years together we would definitely have this marriage thing all figured out.
A 10-year anniversary seemed such a far-off event, I didn’t think about it much if at all, but I think I had a vague notion that we would be experts by then, older and wiser, and fairly settled in our married life.
Ha! Instead it has whipped around so quickly that we find ourselves pretty much in the same place where we were in 2002. That is, still learning how to be together.
Back then we were learning how to live in the same physical space and get used to each other’s way of doing things.
Our first married argument was over the best way to hang the washing on the line, and it was intense!
Today it is harder to put a finger exactly on what lessons life is trying to teach us, except to try to grow in virtue, but I would say that at 10 years married life feels much, much harder and also infinitely more beautiful than that first exciting and novel year.
We haven’t gained much materially other than five children (counting the one in utero), a nice car and some Ikea furniture. These children have made the all the difference. They are the way Peter and I are being knitted into one, they are the main way we experience God’s gifts and graces in our marriage.
They are also, to be very frank, part of our cross, part of the way we are slowly learning to follow Christ, and it is often painful to be a parent.
But God is generous with dispensing the joyful bits, too, and it’s especially lovely to be looking forward to starting our second decade of married life with a new baby.
When I look back over the past 10 years, I am grateful for God’s incredible blessings in the way he has made use of us so far in bringing life to these little ones. But even more so, I am grateful for Peter’s unfailing love over these years.
Though he is not a saint (yet!), he so often mirrors God’s love to me, meeting my impatience with patience, my brittleness with understanding, my fatigue or laziness with work, my fears or anxiety with encouragement and reminders to trust God.
It is though experiencing Peter’s love that I can trust in God’s love, especially at the end of my life.
Then all I might be able to see is the many ways I’ve failed to do the right thing as a person, a wife, mother, friend, relation.
But as Peter is my advocate now, seeing all the good things about me and overlooking the bad, he gives me reason to believe that Christ will be my advocate then.
He is everything a husband should be, and a good cook, which is one of the main things I loved about him in our first year of marriage, the way he feeds me!