Next week I’ll celebrate eight years of marriage with my husband. The one I prayed for every day since I was in the sixth grade. The one I gave an old shoe box full of letters I had written to him. The one I promised my life.
When our anniversary rolls around each year, I always think about how young and in love we were. I always think how we were so naïve to what marriage really was. How we had no idea what we were stepping into. How we did the whole premarital counseling thing, we thought we understood the weight of our promises, and how we thought we knew one another. Every year I wish someone had told me the things I know now. But then again, these things were a part of our journey.
So this is to you, my newlywed self. With your tan lines and bright eyes, with your unwrapped wedding presents perfectly in their places. Trying to make that new house a home. This is for you.
Dear Newlywed Self,
It might have not been the most talked about in the town, but your wedding was everything you dreamt it would be. Your family, your friends, your colors, your church, your Cinderella dress that your grandma made. But most of all that groom.
He was tall and slender and so handsome, standing hands crossed at the end of the isle. Tears streaming down his face and yours. That moment, of walking between the isles, like the way Abraham made a covenant with God, it was beautiful.
That song you wrote and surprised him with, it was from your heart, and you meant every word. I know it was precious to him. But that kiss, that first kiss, the one you waited on. It was holy.
I saw you close the door to that limo and cry your eyes out. You’re leaving your family. You’ll come back to a new home. Promising your life away to him, it’s a lot of emotions in one day.
You came back from the honeymoon a wife. And everyone stares a little a church, because they know what you did all week. And that’s okay. You, sweet girl, are just scraping the surface of knowing that man.
The first few weeks will be those of adjustment. He’ll throw his underwear here, and you’ll squeeze the toothpaste there. His mom had cleaned this way, your mom had cleaned that way. He’ll sleep with the TV on, you’ll sleep with it off. So you’ll meet in the middle on those things. Or he’ll give. Or you’ll give. But you’ll start to learn one another.
Then you’ll realize your time is not your own. Your money is not your own. Your space is not your own. Your body is not your own.
Then you’ll struggle finding the new you, the wife you. You’ll never expect your relationship with Jesus to change. But it does. Drastically. Because now you are one with him. And you’re all one together.
You’ll have your first married fight and will never know how someone could hurt you so deeply. You’ll never know those words will fly out of your mouth. You’ll never know you could hurt him so badly. And there will be no retrieving them. But then after he has time to process, and you wait patiently, forgiveness will cover you both like a warm, cozy, blanket. And you’ll learned a new way to serve him and a new way to communicate.
A time will come, if you’re really honest, when you’ll wonder if you can do this for the rest of your life. There will be days when loving him is more than butterflies, but a choice. It’s because of that covenant. You will have to choose him first, you are called by God to, but there will be lots of times you don’t.
But all this time, when you’re learning one another, hurting one another, forgiving one another, loving one another, the Father will be using you to love on him. You will be Jesus in the flesh, loving on His beloved. Showing him there is more to life with Christ than only church and songs. You’ll get the honor, the absolute privilege, of loving his heart to look more like His Father’s. And then that same Father will take a man, your sweet man, and will bring healing to years of abuse from another. He’ll break through those walls, the ones no one had ever seen, the ones you kept hidden for so many years, not with force or selfishness, but with the utmost gentleness, love, and respect.